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The aim of this study is to outline the difficulties confronting the court when fitness to plead and insanity defence are contested.

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The aim of this study is to outline the difficulties confronting the court when fitness to plead and insanity defence are contested. The relationship between fitness to plead, insanity and crime has been of interest to man from time. This is particularly so when crimes like homicide (murder) have been committed. Prior to the trial (Pre-trial phase), fitness to plead is usually contested. ...read more.


As a result of this he had to be remanded under section 35 of the Mental Health Act 1983, for a medical report at Rampton Special Hospital. The issue here is to ascertain that the individual has got sufficient intellect to be able to plead to the indictment and also understand the proceedings sufficiently to challenge jurors, take in the evidence, and make a proper defence. ...read more.


Defendants who are insane and cannot stand trial are often entitled to the special verdict when they are found not guilty by reason of insanity. The most celebrated case in this regard is that of William McNaughten who in 1843, shot dead the then British Prime Minister's Secretary but was acquitted on grounds of insanity (MacRac, 1973). In this study the difficulties encountered at the pre-trial and trial phases of the court process in the context of unfitness to plead and the insanity defence will be examined. (1) R v Pritchard [1836] 7 C & P 303 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A good start but more detail is required beyond Prtichard. The following detail could be included:

- the issue is raised by the prosecution and the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant is unfit to plead (if the issue is raised by the defence, it need only be proved on the balance of probabilities);
- the issue is determined by a judge;
- if the jury find that the defendant is unfit to plead, the judge may make a guardianship, supervision and treatment order, or make an order for his absolute discharge.

Some criticism of the law would also attract greater marks.

Very low 3 Stars.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 23/07/2013

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