Defence Of Insanity Essay

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The basis of insanity is upon M’Nagten Rules (1843) which set forward the principles of a defence when the “defendant had a defect of reason” or a “disease of the mind” and was not able to understand the nature of the act they did or did not know what they were doing was wrong. These three conditions must be proved for the defence of insanity to become available. Insanity is available for the all cases that require mens rea except for strict liability cases. The first condition to be established is the defendant’s defect of reason. This must show that the defendant was impaired at reasoning. However, if the defendant was capable of reasoning but still committed a crime despite this then the defence of insanity will not be available as decided in the case of Clarke (1972) The second condition to be established is whether the defendant had a “disease of the mind”. This condition is…show more content…
For example, the defence of insanity’s main framework was created in 1843 when we had very little understanding of mental diseases in contrast to what we know now. The legislation for this defence needs to be updated by parliament to better reflect all that we know about this area in the modern age. Another issue is that the defence of insanity does necessarily only apply to the “insane”. Disease such as diabetes and sleepwalking are obviously not conditions that equal insanity and therefore shouldn’t be included under the defence of insanity. Finally, the defence of insanity often relies too much on the discretion of the jury to decide whether or not they are telling the truth. The jury generally has no medical knowledge in the field of mental illness so it can be seen as unfair that they are forced to be the judge of mental illness as opposed to specially trained doctors. This is shown in Oye (2013) whether a jury found the defendant guilty despite the clear medical evidence that showed his mental
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