There are people in prison who should be in hospitalby Anna Blundy / August 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
A barrister friend described a case to me. A gory crime was witnessed by multiple bystanders. “The defence is going for diminished responsibility. Maybe insanity,” he said, rolling his eyes. “But is the murderer mad?” I asked. My friend shrugged. “Presumably.” Diminished responsibility will reduce your sentence, but a plea of insanity might get you off altogether.
So, for a jury to look kindly on your claim of insanity, you have to be in an actual psychotic state during the crime? But surely someone who plans a murder, knows what he’s doing and is delighted by the result, though not psychotic, is hardly mentally well. I spoke to a forensic psychiatrist. “I think some people do commit violent crimes just because they are badass. They want to get rid of the drug dealing competition, so they kill. It’s unlikely they’re mentally ill.”