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    Insanity Defence

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      Best Insanity Defence Lawyers

      An insanity defence – also known as a mental illness defence – is different to a Section 14 Mental Health Application.

      An insanity defence is a full defence to a criminal charge. It requires expert psychiatric evidence and there is a stringent test that must be satisfied for the defence to be successful.

      Because of this, it is crucial that you have an accredited specialist criminal lawyer in your corner who can ensure that the defence is successful.

      We have run successful insanity defences to charges of murder, fraud and serious assaults. Contact us immediately to speak to our friendly team.

      What is the Insanity Defence?

      The insanity defence requires you to prove on the balance of probabilities (ie. greater than 50%) that at the time of the offending, you could not appreciate the moral wrongfulness of your actions.

      How Do You Prove an Insanity Defence?

      Part 4 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW) sets out the insanity defence. The defence stems from the case of M’Naghten and the rules it established (known as the M’Naghten Rules or M’Naughten Rules).

      Section 38 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act sets out:

      “If, in an indictment or information, an act or omission is charged against a person as an offence and it is given in evidence on the trial of the person for the offence that the person was mentally ill, so as not to be responsible, according to law, for his or her action at the time when the act was done or omission made, then, if it appears to the jury before which the person is tried that the person did the act or made the omission charged, but was mentally ill at the time when the person did or made the same, the jury must return a special verdict that the accused person is not guilty by reason of mental illness.

      If a special verdict of not guilty by reason of mental illness is returned at the trial of a person for an offence, the Court may remand the person in custody until the making of an order under section 39 in respect of the person.”

      What Happens if You Are Found Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness?

      Section 39 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act sets out that if you are found ‘not guilty by reason of mental illness’, you can be held in a mental health institution until the Mental Health Review Tribunal find that it is safe to release you. This can be indefinite.

      While this may seem overwhelming, if your lawyer and psychiatrist are experienced in this field, it is usually not difficult for you to be released into the community.

      Insanity defences are quite technical and require briefing of experts with significant experience. Often there will be a disagreement between experts and the case will turn on the advocacy of your lawyer.

      That is why you should contact us now to speak to Australia’s best criminal defence lawyers.

      Ask a question now!