Preview
Preview

Automatism, Insanity and Diminished Responsibility Essay example

No Works Cited
Length: 1568 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A defence in criminal law arises when conditions exist to negate specific elements of the crime: the actus reus when actions are involuntary, the mens rea when the defendant is unaware of the significance of their conduct, or both. These defences will mitigate or eliminate liability from a criminal offence. Insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility are examples of said defences. They each share characteristics but can be distinguished in their scope and application.

Insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility all play a significant role in cases where the defendant’s mind is abnormal while committing a crime. The definition of abnormal will be reviewed in relationship to each defence. In order to identify how these three defences compare and contrast, it is first important to understand their definition and application. The appropriate defence will be used once the facts of the cases have been distinguished and they meet the legal tests. The legal test of insanity is set out in M’Naghten’s Case: “to establish a defence…of insanity it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong.” To be specific, the defect of reason arises when the defendant is incapable of exercising normal reasoning. The defect of reason requires instability in reasoning rather than a failure to exercise it at a time when exercise of reason is possible. In the case of R v Clarke, the defendant was clinically depressed and in a moment of absent-mindedness, stole items from a supermarket...


... middle of paper ...


...emains on the prosecution to disprove automatism beyond reasonable doubt.

It is apparent that insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility share similarities and differences in their range of application and in definition. Insanity and automatism are most similar in that they both are full defences (with different outcomes) which exist when a defendant does not have the necessary actus reus or mens rea, whereas diminished responsibility is a partial defence which only applies to murder. The source of the defendant’s mental abnormality is the greatest point of distinction between all of the defences. Whether the abnormality is internal, external or a diagnosed medical condition will play a significant role in which defence can be used. As defences they are all used for a similar reason, and that is to eliminate or reduce liability for criminal offences.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Comparing and Contrasting the Differences of Insanity, Automatism and Diminished Responsibility - There are two theories that justify punishment: retributivism according to which punishment ensures that justice is done, and utilitarianism which justifies punishment because it prevents further harm being done. The essence of defences is that those who do not freely choose to commit an offence should not be punished, especially in those cases where the defendant's actions are involuntary. All three of these defences concern mental abnormalities. Diminished responsibility is a partial statutory defence and a partial excuse....   [tags: Criminal Justice]
:: 9 Works Cited
1543 words
(4.4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Insanity/Automatism Defense in Court Essay - A defence in criminal law arises when conditions exist to negate specific elements of the crime: the actus reus when actions are involuntary, the mens rea when the defendant is unaware of the significance of their conduct, or both. These defences will mitigate or eliminate liability from a criminal offence. Insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility are examples of said defences. They each share characteristics but can be distinguished in their scope and application. Insanity, automatism and diminished responsibility all play a significant role in cases where the defendant’s mind is abnormal while committing a crime....   [tags: Crime, Criminal Law] 1062 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Insanity as a Defense Essay - ... The House of Lords indicated that: "Every man is to be presumed to be sane, and ... that to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of mind, and not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong." [http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-procedure/the-m-naghten-rule.html#sthash.Por9tXE5.dpuf] D must prove that he was suffering from a defect of reason, caused by a disease of the mind....   [tags: psychopathy, criminal law, innocent] 860 words
(2.5 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Essay on Is The Current Law Defense of Insanity Ineffective? - INTRODUCTION In this project, I will consider whether the current law defence of insanity is ineffective, out-dated and in need of reform. I will do so by considering few criticisms of the insanity defence under the M’Naghten rules by academics like Peter Blood and others, as well as by reviewing possible law reform in the Insanity and automatism Scoping paper. My main aim is to uncover particular parts of the law which urgently need a reform such as sleepwalking, diabetes and the distinction between external and internal factors, by comparism of the contrasting leading cases....   [tags: balance of probability, reasonable doubt] 1779 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Criminal Justice System: Different Types of Criminal Defense Essay - ... When a defendant is in a court of law, they may claim that they were as mentally impaired with illness as to be “insane” at the time that they were committing the illegal act (Pollock, 2013). However, when pleading insanity it can also create issues by being used in a criminal proceeding. One of the claims that deal with insanity is “competency”. Competency is a “mental incapacity that may be used to argue incompetency to stand trial. Meaning that the defendant’s state of mind is such that they are unable to understand the proceedings against themselves in their own defense” (Pollock, 2013)....   [tags: pleading insanity, criminal culpability] 635 words
(1.8 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
The Relevancy of Diminished Responsibility Essay - The Relevancy of Diminished Responsibility Diminished Responsibility (In the USA it is called Diminished Capacity) is used to reduce the charge of Murder to Manslaughter thus allowing the judge more discretion in sentencing. To many the idea of a person having diminished responsibility to a crime is a problem at an emotional and rational level : after all we often do not agree what the mind is . Some see the defence as a conspiracy of the legal and medical professions to release increasingly guilty offenders into the community and that this conspiracy is driven by money and socialists....   [tags: Papers] 3517 words
(10 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Competency, Sanity and Diminished Capacity Essay - A court system must observe and consider certain issues when a person stands trial in a court of law. Some of these issues involve competency, sanity and diminished capacity among other issues. These issues influence the decision of the court regarding the offence that the accused faces. For a court of law to make its decision, it has to ensure that the accused is in an acceptable state of health condition. There are certain standards that the court uses to determine competency level of the accused....   [tags: Criminal Law Essays] 1479 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Insanity Defense: Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) - “Not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) has often perplexed even the most stringent of legal and psychiatric professionals for centuries. Moreover, it has transcended into the pop culture, as a “loophole”for the criminal society. However, the insanity defense is only used in less than 1% of criminal cases, and used successfully in only 10-25% of those cases (Torry and Billick, 2010). In order to successfully be acquitted by reason of insanity, the legal team, paired with psychiatric professionals, must prove that the defendant is not legally responsible for the crime, despite the evidence that they executed the crime....   [tags: insanity, crime, defendant] 2413 words
(6.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Insanity Plea - Most court cases end in one of the following two ways: Guilty or Not Guilty. In addition to these simple verdicts, information is sometimes provided as to why the jury came to its conclusion. Such is the case for Not guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI). While the first two scenarios are simple and fair, the last choice has raised more than a few eyebrows over time. Many believe that the Insanity Plea is a simple way to get a high-stakes criminal off the hook, though many would also disagree and say that the Insanity Plea is a justifiable resolution to court cases....   [tags: court cases, jury, insanity defense]
:: 9 Works Cited
1204 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Criminology: Sane for Insanity? Essay - Sane for insanity. Often times, the Insanity Defense is viewed by the public as an excused for criminals who are trying to be free of a sentence in jail.That may be the case for a small portion of the time, but that rarely works. It does not matter what the defendants mental ability is at the moment of a trial. The jurors focus on the mental capability at the moment the defendant committed the crime. There are several tests that are looked at in trying to find what the cause was for all of the commotion by the defendant in the committed crime to discover the level of their mental illness, or if there is an illness at all....   [tags: insanity defense, excuse for criminals]
:: 9 Works Cited
1223 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]