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Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

13. Denials of an offence  

David Ormerod and John Child

This chapter deals with the rules on denials of an offence, a denial of one or more actus reus or mens rea elements. In particular, it considers three sets of rules relating to the denial of an offence: intoxication, sane automatism, and insanity. As well as discussing how each of these rules can be used by D to avoid liability, the chapter also focuses on how circumstances of ‘prior fault’ can be used by the prosecution to substitute for missing mens rea elements so as to construct liability. It also outlines potential options for legal reform concerning intoxication, sane automatism, and insanity, and concludes by considering how denials of offending based on intoxication, automatism, and insanity should be applied to problem facts. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with brief summaries of the main facts and judgments.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

13. Denials of an offence  

This chapter deals with the rules on denials of an offence, a denial of one or more actus reus or mens rea elements. In particular, it considers three sets of rules relating to the denial of an offence: intoxication, sane automatism, and insanity. As well as discussing how each of these rules can be used by D to avoid liability, the chapter also focusses on how circumstances of ‘prior-fault’ can be used by the prosecution to substitute for missing mens rea elements so as to construct liability. It also outlines potential options for legal reform concerning intoxication, sane automatism, and insanity, and concludes by considering how denials of offending based on intoxication, automatism, and insanity should be applied to problem facts. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with brief summaries of the main facts and judgments.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

9. Mental conditions, intoxication and mistake  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter considers the most commonly occurring ‘mental condition defences’, focusing on the pleas of insanity, intoxication and mistake. The common law historically made a distinction between justification and excuse, at least in relation to homicide. It is said that justification relates to the rightness of the act but to excuse as to the circumstances of the individual actor. The chapter examines the relationship between mental condition defences, insanity and unfitness to be tried, and explains the Law Commission’s most recent recommendations for reforming unfitness and other mental condition defences. It explores the test of insanity, disease of the mind (insanity) versus external factor (sane automatism), insane delusions and insanity, burden of proof, function of the jury, self-induced automatism, intoxication as a denial of criminal responsibility, voluntary and involuntary intoxication, dangerous or non-dangerous drugs in basic intent crime and intoxication induced with the intention of committing crime.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Text, Cases, & Materials on Criminal Law

23. Mental conditions  

This chapter considers the ways in which the criminal law treats people suffering from mental disorders. The following controversies are examined: when an individual can be regarded as mentally incapable of being tried; the relationship between insane and sane automatism; the extent to which the insanity defence reflects modern psychiatric practice; whether the lack of direct correlation between the medical and legal definitions of ‘insanity’ infringes the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); and how the insanity defence ought to be reformed.