Consider the criminal liability of the defendant in the situation below and consider the defence of insanity to the offences that you find he has committed.
Johnson could be held liable for Section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861. This is unlawfully inflicting grievous bodily harm or malicious wounding with intent to cause some harm. There must be a break in the continuity of the skin for a D to be held liable for malicious wounding (JCC v Eisenhower). GBH was described as “serious” harm in Saunders. Johnson stabbed Alan Taylor, therefore there was a break in the continuity of the skin, and he was also described to have “deep stab wounds”. Alan also suffered lacerations to his fingers – Brown v Stratton stated a number of injuries can amount to GBH.
Johnson could also be found liable for assault. An assault is making the victim apprehend immediate, unlawful, personal violence stated under the Criminal Justice Act 1998. As long as the harm feared by the victim is immediate, it is enough for assault (Smith.) Logdon stated an assault can be by ether words or actions – Johnson shouted “very aggressively” at the victim, therefore he would have feared immediate violence. Johnson also assault Russell when he shouted and swore at him when accusing him of “noncing his sister”. It is foreseeable that he would have felt immediate harm because Johnson was holding a large kitchen knife.
The defence of insanity can only be used if it was there at the time of the offence, and anything after the offence can only determine whether the defendant was fit for trial. M’Naughten established three elements to insanity, they must have a defect of reason, it must have been caused by a disease of the mind, and the defendant does not know the nature or quality of his act or as not to know what he was doing was wrong. A defect of reason is based on D’s inability to make rational judgements and decisions rather than his failure to use them. Absent mindedness isn’t...
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