In this scenario, someone is arrested and accused of a racism crime, for example sending racist messages through an online social media platform to another person of the same ethnicity as the offender. This is a serious crime by United Kingdom standards, but not murder, rape, or anything too over-the-top.

The suspect pleads Not Guilty for Reasons of Insanity. This is because they have proof of some external factors significantly impacting upon their mental health, for example someone did something causing brain damage, making them act completely out of character.

Given the circumstances above, would the defendant be released on bail, or would they be remanded into custody until the date of their trial?

I think this is an interesting question, since the defendant is admitting to their crime, but they have a very good defence at the same time.

  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Law Meta, or in Law Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Pat W.
    Commented May 27 at 14:22

1 Answer 1


You don’t plead anything at the police station

When you are arrested the police will take you to the station and hold you for a short period (terrorism offences excepted). During this time they will interview you (where you have a right to have a lawyer present) and at the end of that time they will release you without charge or lay charges.

If they lay charges, they may release you on your own recognisance, or they may want to hold you in custody. If they want to hold you, they’ll bring you before a magistrate as soon as possible who will remand you in custody or release you - on bail, with conditions, or on your own recognisance. If you are remanded, you can then apply for bail, basically the same process before the magistrate as before but with more time for you to prepare.

At no point in this part of the process do you enter a plea - that comes later at the indictment for indictable offences, or at the hearing for summary offences. And you make the plea to the court, not the police.

Detention for mental illness is a medical, not a criminal process

If the police believe you are suffering from mental illness, they will take you to a hospital. You can be detained if a doctor certifies that you are mentally ill and pose a danger to yourself or others.

This is completely independent process from criminal detention.

  • Are you sure? If you plead guilty they take you straight to court to get sentenced... So you do enter a plea, unless you go no comment. It might not be a "plea" but at the beginning of an Interview Under Caution you say "I, John Smith, of 123 Sunny Street, deny/accept the allegation of Sending Nasty Messages" before you either give a version, allow your lawyer to read a document, or go no comment. Your part at the end regarding detention for mental illness is also wrong, as you can demonstrate to the police that you are fit and healthy now, but your actions happened before when still insane. Commented May 27 at 5:47
  • @user5623335 you only can plead after you have been charged.
    – Trish
    Commented May 27 at 7:01
  • @Trish Fine, but once someone has admitted to the crime (albeit for insanity) would they get bail until the whenever? Commented May 27 at 7:27
  • @Trish no, you can only plead after being charged at the appropriate judicial hearing.
    – Dale M
    Commented May 28 at 20:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .