I am wondering what the stance of the UK legal system is on someone who was convicted of assault (ABH) with some kind of personality disorder, e.g NPD.

On reading this there is some stance. But how effective is a diagnosis of NPD on sentencing?

For instance, if it was framed that the assault was conducted in a bout of narcissistic rage?

  • 1
    Remember that if you commit a crime that you are not culpable for because of a mental problem, that's not a license to commit crimes. It will likely get you put into an institution where they will try to cure your mental problem. There was a case of a young man faking it, who managed to avoid a 6 year sentence for GBH, and 12 years later he was still locked up in an institution).
    – gnasher729
    Apr 3, 2020 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


Courts are expected to pass sentences which are just, in all the circumstances.

Before a custodial sentence the court must (normally) order a report and take into account the findings of the report writer when sentencing. From section 157 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003:

(1) Subject to subsection (2), in any case where the offender is or appears to be mentally disordered, the court must obtain and consider a medical report before passing a custodial sentence other than one fixed by law.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if, in the circumstances of the case, the court is of the opinion that it is unnecessary to obtain a medical report.

(3) Before passing a custodial sentence other than one fixed by law on an offender who is or appears to be mentally disordered, a court must consider—

(a) any information before it which relates to his mental condition (whether given in a medical report, a pre-sentence report or otherwise), and

(b) the likely effect of such a sentence on that condition and on any treatment which may be available for it.

A personality disorder on its own doesn't necessarily make any difference in sentencing, but the report writer may be of the opinion that it changes D's culpability in the circumstances of the case.

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