Criminal responsibility of an insane person

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Criminal responsibility of an insane person

  1. 1. MODERATOR : PROF H NabachandraPRESENTER : DR Soreingam Ragui A
  2. 2. Insanity :Disease of the mind or defect in personality, in whichthe intelligence or the mental faculties become defectiveand the emotional processes are so disturbed orderanged that the sufferer is unable to adapt himselfwith his usual and ordinary social environment andrequirements. Insanity begins when sanity ends
  3. 3.  CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY Responsibility means liability of a person for his acts ofcommission or omission. Law Insane Public attention (1843 )Daniel Mc Naughten Edward Drummond secretary to Robert Peel atcharing cross. 14 Judges ,5 Questions McNaughtenRule/legal test/right –wrong test.
  4. 4. Mc Naughten Rule (1843)“To establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it has to beclearly proved that at the time of committing the act, theparty accused was laboring under such a defect of reasonfrom the disease of the mind, as to not know the nature andquality of the act he was doing or, if he did know it,that hedid not know he was doing what was wrong. To plead not guilty1) Clearly proved :insanity directly related to offence2) Defect of reason : intellectual/cognitive faculties of theaccused were so distorted, there was no reasoning power3) Abnormality of mind : A legal concept, not a psychiatricconcept, mind not brain.4) Wrong: mens rea(the intent ),actus rea (the guilty act)bot this element should be present, ability of the accusedto distinguish between right and wrong with reference toa particular crime.
  5. 5.  CRITICISM Only cognitive/intellectual factors or reason are taken intoaccount. Emotional factors, ability of individual to control impulse, lossof self-control, hallucination, delusional belief are not taken intoaccount,THE IRRESISTIBLE IMPULSE TEST(New Hampshire Doctrine)Abner Rodger stabbed and murdered a prison warden in theprison where he was being heldNot criminally responsible, even if he know the nature and qualityof the act and know that it is wrong, if he is incapable ofrestraining himself from committing the act due to mentaldisease.CRITISMWhether the impulse was strongWhether the offender was weakNO ANSWER (law/psychiatry)TEST is used in combination with “ right and wrong test”.
  6. 6.  DURHAM RULE/PRODUCT TEST (1954 )An accused is not criminally responsible if his unlawfulact was the product of mental disease or defect.It was held that the rule was broader than Mc Naughtenrule.CRITICISMThe ambiguity of the term used I.e mental disease,mental defect, product.The judge has to solely rely on the psychiatrists to decidewhether the act was the product of mental defect ordisease. Hence judicial authorities has little to do whilerendering impartial and independent judgment
  7. 7. CURREN’S RULE(1971)Donald Curren Violated the motor vehicle actAn accused person will not be criminally responsible, ifat the time of committing the act, he did not have thecapacity to regulate his conduct to the requirement oflaw, as a result of mental disease or defect.It is superior to Durham rule cause it omits thetroublesome ‘product’ clause.Vast majority of mental disease does not result incriminal behaviorIt also includes a part irresistible aspect.
  8. 8.  AMERICAN LAW INSTITUTE (ALI TEST,1970)A person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at thetime of such criminal conduct as a result of a mental diseaseor defect, he lacks substantial capacity, either to appreciatethe wrongfulness of his conduct or to adjust his conduct tothe requirement of law.This theory combined both (Mc Naughten +Irresistible test)taking into consideration the violation capacity and theimpairment of cognition.Instead of knowing the difference between right andwrong,(Mc Naughten and Durham) the defendant is nowsubjected to appreciate it.Instead of proving the act as ‘product’ of disease ,it has onlyshown that the disease resulted in a loss of ‘substantialcapacity ‘to obey law.
  9. 9.  INDIAN PERSPECTIVEThe law in India presume every individual tobe of sound mindThe law also presumes that there be mens reaThe burden of proving mental unsoundnesslies on the accused (Sec 105 of IEA)Plea of insanity is taken1)In the Bar of trial: When accuse is insane andcannot plead2)In the bar of conviction: The accuse wasinsane when the crime was committed3)In the bar of infliction of capital punishment:When a condemned prisoner is insane.
  10. 10.  The law followed in India in defense of insanity is anadaption of Mc Naughten’s Rule SEC 84 IPC Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who atthe time of doing it by reason of unsoundness of mind,is incapable of knowing the nature of the act ,or thathe is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.Consideration :1)TIME2)DEGREE3)UNDERSTAND
  11. 11. OTHER CONDITION AND CRIMINALRESPONSIBILITY1)Delusion :mere presence does not absolve the personfrom criminal responsibility May/May not be.2)Irresistible impulse not sufficient groundfor exception from criminal liability.3)Somnambulism: Sleepwalking NotResponsible4)Somnolentia (Semi-somnolence):Midway betweensleep and wakefulness Not Responsible
  12. 12. 5)Hypnotism(mesmerism): Sleep like trench state isinduced by process of suggestion held guilty.6)DrunkennessIf Voluntarily consume with knowledge or intent tocommit crime Responsible (SEC 86IPC)If Any intoxicant was administered without hisknowledge or against his will NotResponsible(Sec 85 IPC)
  13. 13. Role of medical officer in criminal caseThe presiding officer generally ask the medicalofficer(psychiatrist) to keep the accused underobservation and to certify whether he is mentally ill ornotConsider the following points :1)Any history of mental illness In family2)Lack of Motive in commission of offence3)Lack of premedication/preplanning4)Absence of compliance5)No attempt to destroy evidence, or to flee from thesconce of crime6)Ghastly or buzzier nature of crime
  14. 14. EMERGING TRENDSTrend of acceptance of the development in the field ofpsychiatry by lawIt is also accepted mind is a unified whole, cognitivefaculties could not remain unimpaired if the will andemotion are diseasedEven if the person knows something is wrong theirresistible force is taken into account
  15. 15. CONCLUSIONA person may feign insanity o avoid death sentence orprolong imprisonment ,as it will be more comfortable toescape to a mental hospital on a verdict of not guilty byreason of insanity Some alleged it as a conspiracy of the officials torelease the guilty offenders into a community for aulterior motives Whatever be the case the doctor have a tremendousresponsibility and hence examine every such case withopen mind
  16. 16. “When you live in the shadow ofinsanity, the appearance ofanother mind that thinks andtalks as yours does is somethingclose to a blessed event”Robert M Pirsig(philosopherand writer)

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