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I am reading through my textbook and I am interested in the concept of insanity. First the rules of an insanity plea:

To successfully plead insanity, it must be clearly proved that at the time of committing the act the defendant D was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, so as not to know the nature and quality of the act they were doing; or, if they did know it, that they did not know what they were doing was wrong.

Let us say that the indictment included rape, ABH and GBH.

On assessment D was found to have been psychotic at the time of the offence (disease of the mind) and was under the impression that the claimant C was an android who was sent to look after him. Also, consent does not apply to non-sentient entities. So it is not illegal to rape C, in fact that crime does not exist. (They did not know what they were doing was wrong). The voices in his head also contributed to the assaults. Also, attacking a non-sentient entity amounts to nothing more than criminal damage (not to know the nature and quality of the act they were doing).

The determination of insanity is down to the jury, but the above does satisfy all the criteria. Am I right here?

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    I listened to a podcast about a guy who tried an insanity defense to get away with GBH (grievous bodily harm). His lawyer told him to expect six years jail. For his insanity plea he studied “The Shining” among other things, he ended up very convincing. Too convincing. Result: 12 years in a mental institution with no release date.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 11, 2022 at 19:52
  • I have heard about similar instances.
    – HMPtwo
    Dec 11, 2022 at 19:57
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    Maybe he should've added One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to his playlist
    – user35069
    Dec 11, 2022 at 19:59
  • I should have added that the ramifications don't really matter in this construction. Of course in real life we would need to consider possible outcomes.
    – HMPtwo
    Dec 11, 2022 at 20:01

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Am I right here?

Yes, on the face of it. But the crux of the matter is whether expert psychiatric evidence is able establish that:

They did not know what they were doing was wrong.

If they can, then the defence would presumably succeed.

For completeness: insanity, at the time of the offence, is determined by the M'Naghten rules as laid out in M'Naghten [1843] UKHL J16 :

In all cases of this kind the jurors ought to be told that every man is presumed to be sane, and to possess a sufficient degree of reason to be responsible for his crimes, until the contrary be proved to their satisfaction: and that to establish a defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that at the time of commiting the act the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or as not to know that what he was doing was wrong.

See also Loake v CPS [2017] EWHC 2855 (Admin) which includes this at the end of paragraph 60:

...The second limb of the defence [emboldened, above] only arises where an individual who satisfies the threshold condition of a mental disorder cannot tell right from wrong to the extent of not knowing his conduct breaches the law. Such a person does not bear criminal responsibility for that very reason.

That's not the end of it though. If the defendant is fit to stand trial then section 2 Trial Of Lunatics Act 1883 provides for a special verdict where the accused is found guilty, but insane at date of act or omission charged:

(1) Where in any indictment or information any act or omission is charged against any person as an offence, and it is given in evidence on the trial of such person for that offence that he was insane, so as not to be responsible, according to law, for his actions at the time when the act was done or omission made, then, if it appears to the jury before whom such person is tried that he did the act or made the omission charged, but was insane as aforesaid at the time when he did or made the same, the jury shall return a special verdict that the accused is not guilty by reason of insanity.

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