Diminished Responsibility in English Law

Diminished Responsibility In English Law

In English law, diminished responsibility is one of the partial defences that reduce the offence from murder to manslaughter if successful (termed "voluntary" manslaughter for these purposes). This allows the judge sentencing discretion, e.g. to impose a hospital order under section 37 Mental Health Act 1983 to ensure treatment rather than punishment in appropriate cases. Thus, when the actus reus (Latin for "guilty act") of death is accompanied by an objective or constructive version of mens rea, the subjective evidence that the defendant did intend to kill or cause grievous bodily harm because of a mental incapacity will partially excuse his conduct. The burden of proof is on the defendant to the balance of probabilities. The M'Naghten Rules lack a volitional limb of "irresistible impulse"; diminished responsibility is the volitional mental condition defence in English criminal law.

Read more about Diminished Responsibility In English Law:  The Statutory Provision

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Diminished Responsibility In English Law - The Statutory Provision - The Relationship To Drunkenness and Drug Taking
... at the time of committing a murder is also irrelevant to support a plea of diminished responsibility because it is an "external" not an "inherent cause" within s2 ... The direction to a jury facing both diminished responsibility and drunkenness should be Would the defendant have killed as he did if he had not been drunk? and if the answer to that is yes, Was he ... that it was induced by disease (namely alcoholism), and that it substantially impaired her responsibility for her actions, then the defence of diminished ...

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