Crime CLIX-Insanity XVI

In R v Johnson (2007) we look at the defense of insanity as it applies to those who suffer from schizophrenia and if the principle that was set in R v Windle (1952) applies or extends to paranoid schizophrenics or if an exception can be made for those who suffer from the ailment.

As per the rule in R v Windle (1952) the defense will not be made available to the defendant if the defendant knew what he was doing or had cognizance of his actions.

In R v Johnson (2007), the defendant was charged with wounding to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) as per s18 & s20 of the Offences Against Person Act (1861). He was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia but at the trial the defense of insanity was not made available to him because medical evidence suggested that the defendant knew or was aware of what he was doing.

The defense appealed on the grounds that the defense of insanity should have been made available to the defendant and the issue at hand was whether the scope or the parameters of the defense could be widened to cover those who, despite knowing what they were doing, suffered from acute mental illnesses.

The appeal was dismissed and it was decided that the rule in R v Windle (1952) would apply. The defense would only avail itself to the defendant or be made available to the defendant, if he was not aware, through some disease of mind, of what he was doing.

Copyright © 2019 by Dyarne Ward


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