R v. M'Naghten (1843) - Defense of Insanity


Court :

Brief :
The jury reached a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Also, itheld that “every man is presumed sane and to possess a sufficient degree of reason to be responsible for his crimes. Therefore, in order to establish an insanity defense, it must be clearly proven that at the time of the act, the accused was under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind that he did not know the nature and quality of the act he was committing; or if he did know, he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

Citation :
(1843) 8 E.R. 718; (1843) 10 Cl. & F. 200

  • Bench: Lord Chief Justice Tindal
  • Appellants : R
  • Respondents: M’Naghten

Issue:

Can the convict use insanity as a defence for committing a murder?

Facts:

  • The DefendantM’Naghtenshot Edward Drummond thinking him to be the British Prime Minister Robert Peel who later succumbed to his injuries.
  • The defendant in his defense claimed to be not in a sound state of mind to commit the murder.
  • The experts and witnesses who testified that the Defendant had obsession with delusions and that he suffered from acute insanity.
  • Therefore, a case was filed against the defendant and was charged with the crime of murder.
 

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Appellant's contentions:

  • I t was contended that the defendant shall be convicted for committing the crime of murder and the defense of insanity is baseless.

Respondent's contentions:

  • The respondent contended that while commission of the murder he was not in a sound mind thereby shall not be convicted for the crime.

Judgement:

The jury reached a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Also, itheld that “every man is presumed sane and to possess a sufficient degree of reason to be responsible for his crimes. Therefore, in order to establish an insanity defense, it must be clearly proven that at the time of the act, the accused was under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind that he did not know the nature and quality of the act he was committing; or if he did know, he did not know what he was doing was wrong.

The M’Naghten Rule has generally been presented to the jury as a standard in determining whether the accused at the time of doing the act knew the difference between right and wrong. This standard should be used in conjunction with observations made of the defendant under the relevant circumstances on a case-by-case basis. "

-Para 3 (R v M’Naghten)

 

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RITUPORNA GUPTA
on 21 October 2020
Published in Criminal Law
Views : 561


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