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Preface


Forensic psychiatry comprises the psychiatry of mental disorder and offending behaviour, that is clinical forensic psychiatry, plus law as it relates to all psychiatry, both civil and criminal law, or legal psychiatry. Tere is civil law relevant to all those with mental disorders, most obviously mental health law, but also potentially many other branches of civil law. However, mentally disordered offenders1


are both likely


to be the subject of criminal law and will tend, in practice, to be subject more to the application of mental health, and other, law. Hence practitioners of clinical forensic psychiatry will also have much more involvement with legal psychiatry than occurs within general psychiatric practice. Put another way, clinical forensic psychiatry often underpins not only the assessment and treatment of mentally disordered offenders per se, but also assessment and reporting on them for legal purposes. Indeed, on many occasions the sole purpose of clinical forensic assessment may be so as to report into the criminal legal process.


Tis handbook is designed specifically to assist mental health professionals and lawyers engaged in capital trials, sentencing hearings, appeals and mercy hearings. It draws on ordinary principles of forensic psychiatric practice, and much of the text in regard to pre-trial issues and trials is common to all common law jurisdictions, for example in relation to ‘mental condition defences’. However, the handbook is ‘custom written’ specifically in regard to problems that can arise even at the trial and pre-trial stages in countries that both retain the death penalty and may lack the level of mental health services available, for example, in the UK and in regard to the unusual psycho-legal issues that can arise in relation to sentencing hearings, appeals from conviction and sentence, and mercy hearings.


Te handbook is limited in its scope and depth in order to make it ‘user friendly’ within the mental health and legal contexts for which it is written, where usually there will be little in the way of specialist forensic psychiatric training, knowledge or services. However, readers who wish to refer to a more comprehensive text of forensic psychiatric practice, albeit not oriented specifically towards capital cases, may wish to consult Eastman N, Adshead G, Fox S, Latham R and Whyte S (2012) Oxford Specialist Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry2


; and the approach to forensic psychiatry adopted within the current handbook directly reflects that adopted in the Oxford Handbook.


As with the Oxford Handbook, the abbreviated style of this handbook does not allow for referencing of any sources. It is important, therefore, that we make it plain that we have relied heavily on the work of a large number of other authors and we both thank them all and acknowledge their copyright in their work.


Tis handbook represents a stand-alone, single-volume practitioners’ handbook for the use of psychiatrists and psychologists, solicitors, barristers, prosecuting authorities and the courts, who are required to deal with homicide, and other cases, in jurisdictions and circumstances where the death penalty can apply. It is intended to be relevant to all stages of capital criminal justice process, from arrest and police interviewing, through fitness to plead and trial, to sentencing, appeal and mercy hearings. It therefore deals not only with ‘mental condition defences’ at trial, but psycho-legal issues that can occur at all stages in capital cases.


1


but also includes those facing criminal legal process, as well as those deemed at risk of committing a serious criminal offence. 2


Te term ‘mentally disordered offender’ is not restricted to individuals who are mentally disordered and who have also been convicted of a criminal offence, Eastman N, Adshead G, Fox S, Latham R, Whyte S (2012) Oxford Specialist Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK


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