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Defences Insanity Notes

Irish BCL Notes > Irish Criminal Law Notes

This is an extract of our Defences Insanity document, which we sell as part of our Irish Criminal Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Trinity College Dublin students.

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Insanity Criminal Law (Insanity) Act 2006 s. 4 Deals with fitness to be tried. All parties entitled to raise the issue. Sent to CMH until fit. s. 5 (1)If an accused is suffering from a mental disorder, such that they ought not to be held responsible because they A) did not know the nature and quality of their act, B) they did not know the act they were doing was wrong or C) they were unable to refrain from performing the act, then the court may return a special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. (2) If the court...is satisfied that an accused person found not guilty by reason of insanity...is suffering from a mental disorder...and is in need of in-patient care and treatment in a designated centre, the court shall make an order to commit that person to a designated centre until such time as....[s.13 (7)] [the Review Board] shall...determine the question whether or not the treatment...is still required and shall make such order as it thinks proper in relation to the patient. whether for further detention, care or treatment in a designated centre or for his or her discharge whether unconditionally or subject to conditions for out-patient supervision or treatment or both. s. 6 (1) Where a person is tried for murder and the jury, or as the case may be, the Special Criminal Court, finds that the person A) did the act alleged, B) at the time was suffering from a mental disorder and C) the mental disorder was not such as to find him not guilty by reason of insanity, but was such as to diminish substantially his or her responsibility for the act, the jury or court, as the case may be, shall find the person not guilty of that offence but guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. (2) Where a person is tried for the offence specified in sub-section 1, it shall be for the defence to establish that, by virtue of this section, that the accused is not liable to be convicted of that offence. The State (Coughlan) v Minister for Justice (SC 1967) Facts

* The plaintiff was certified as insane and brought to a mental hospital when he was meant to stand trial, pursuant to the provisions of the 1875 Lunatic Asylums (Ireland) Act Issue

* Insanity - Fitness to plead Judgment

* O'Daly CJ

* The provisions of relevant Act were an unconstitutional interference with the business of the court.

* It is for the Court to decide whether the accused is suffering from such insanity that renders him unfit to stand trial - the test is whether the accused has sufficient intellect to comprehend the course of the proceedings of the trial, so as A) to make a proper defence, B) challenge a juror to whom they may wish to object and C) to understand the details of the evidence.

* Haugh J (concurring)

* Walsh J (concurring)

* Budd J (concurring)

* Fitzgerald J (concurring)

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