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Insanity in English law is a defence to criminal charges based on the idea that the defendant was unable to understand what he was doing, or, that he was unable to understand that what he was doing was wrong.

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  • Demencia (derecho inglés)
  • Insanity in English law
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  • En el derecho inglés, defensa por demencia es una defensa de cargos criminales basada en la idea de que el acusado era incapaz de entender lo que estaba haciendo o que era incapaz de comprender que lo que estaba haciendo, estaba mal.
  • Insanity in English law is a defence to criminal charges based on the idea that the defendant was unable to understand what he was doing, or, that he was unable to understand that what he was doing was wrong.
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  • En el derecho inglés, defensa por demencia es una defensa de cargos criminales basada en la idea de que el acusado era incapaz de entender lo que estaba haciendo o que era incapaz de comprender que lo que estaba haciendo, estaba mal. La defensa viene en dos formas; cuando se alega demencia del acusado al momento del crimen, o bien, cuando se alega demencia al momento del juicio. En la primera forma la defensa debe demostrar que el acusado sufría o sufre de alguna enfermedad que afecta el funcionamiento de la mente, lo cual lo llevó a un defecto de la razón que le impidió comprender lo que estaba haciendo o que no sabía que lo que hacía, estaba mal. En la segunda forma la prueba es demostrar si el acusado es capaz de diferenciar entre los veredictos de "culpable" o "inocente" y reconoce los cargos a los que se enfrenta. Si la defensa tiene éxito, es probable que el acusado sea detenido bajo la Ley de Procedimiento Penal (Demencia) de 1964, aunque los jueces tienen un amplio margen de apreciación en cuanto a qué hacer. El uso de la "demencia" como concepto se remonta a 1324, su aplicación penal se utilizó hasta finales del siglo XVI en una forma casi idéntica. Si la defensa resultaba éxitosa, al acusado se le podía permitir regresar a su casa o, en su defecto, ser encarcelado hasta recibir el indulto real. Después de 1542, un acusado que sufriese de demencia antes del juicio no podía ser juzgado por ningún delito, incluso por el delito de alta traición. Durante el siglo XVIII las pruebas para determinar la demencia se estrecharon, los acusados tenían la obligación de probar que no podían distinguir entre el bien y el mal y que además sufrían de una enfermedad mental que los hacía incapaces de comprender las consecuencias de sus acciones. La actual redacción proviene de las Reglas M'Naghten, basadas en el juicio legal de Daniel M'Naghten en 1843. La defensa por demencia ha sido objeto de fuertes críticas, particularmente del Comité Butler, que afirma que la norma se «basa en un concepto muy limitado de la naturaleza del trastorno mental», destacando «el lenguaje pasado de moda, de las Reglas M'Naghten, que da lugar a problemas de interpretación y que las normas se basan en la creencia obsoleta en el papel preeminente de la razón en el control de la conducta social... [las reglas] por lo tanto no son una prueba satisfactoria de la responsabilidad criminal». El comité propuso reformas a la ley en 1975, seguido por un proyecto de ley de la Comisión de Derecho en 1989, sin embargo, esos dos proyectos fueron ignorados por los respectivos gobiernos.
  • Insanity in English law is a defence to criminal charges based on the idea that the defendant was unable to understand what he was doing, or, that he was unable to understand that what he was doing was wrong. The defence comes in two forms; where the defendant claims he was insane at the time of the crime, and where the defendant asserts he is insane at the time of trial. In the first situation, the defendant must show that he was either suffering from a disease which damaged the functioning of the mind and led to a defect of reason that prevented him from understanding what he was doing, or that he could not tell that what he was doing was wrong. In the second situation, the test is whether or not the defendant can differentiate between "guilty" and "not guilty" verdicts, instruct counsel and recognise the charges he is facing. If successful, he is likely to be detained under the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964, although judges have a wide discretion as to what to do. Use of insanity as a concept dates from 1324, and its criminal application was used until the late 16th century in an almost identical way. The defence, if successful, either allowed the defendant to return home or led to him being incarcerated until he was granted a royal pardon; after 1542, a defendant who became insane prior to the trial could not be tried for any crime, up to and including high treason. During the 18th century the test to determine insanity became extremely narrow, with defendants required to prove that they could not distinguish between good and evil and that they suffered from a mental disease which made them incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions. The current wording comes from the M'Naghten Rules, based on the trial of Daniel M'Naghten in 1843. The defence of insanity has been subject to intense criticism, particularly from the Butler Committee, which noted that the rules were "based on too limited a concept of the nature of mental disorder", highlighting "the outmoded language of the M'Naghten Rules which gives rise to problems of interpretation" and that the rules were "based on the now obsolete belief in the pre-eminent role of reason in controlling social behaviour... [the rules] are not therefore a satisfactory test of criminal responsibility". The Committee proposed reform of the law in 1975, followed by a draft bill from the Law Commission in 1989; so far, these have both been ignored by successive governments.
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