This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Handbook of Forensic Psychiatric Practice in Capital Cases


• If necessary explain the basic procedure and consider their ability to retain the information


• Enquire about their account of the offence and whether they are aware of what witnesses have described


• Enquire about their understanding of any likely evidence against them (this must be specific to the case)


• If they indicate a particular plea, ask them to explain the reasons for this (they may have been advised against doing this which can make assessment difficult)


• Examine witness statements and interviews with them for evidence of understanding


Any form of mental abnormality might be relevant to the assessment of fitness to plead and stand trial, although no mental disorder automatically confirms someone as unfit to plead, and there is no test that can diagnose someone as unfit to plead.


Competency tools are used in some jurisdictions, but they assist in the legal determination rather than replacing it.


Psychosis and learning disability might be assumed to be the most relevant mental disorders, but even delusions about the facts relating to the case do not necessarily amount to unfitness; that is, there is legal distinction between ‘unfitness’ and ‘failure to act in one’s own best interest’.


Te following mental abnormalities have been judged not necessarily to indicate unfitness:


• Delusions that might lead to incorrect challenge of a juror • Memory loss for the offence • Giving implausible or unreliable instructions or answers to questions • Delusions about the likely punishment


Te following symptoms or impairments might be relevant:


• Impairment in concentration • Specific delusions or other psychotic symptoms relevant to entering a plea


• Global cognitive impairment Te report should include opinions on:


• Diagnosis and formulation with specific reference to symptoms that have been confirmed. Tere should then be • Specific reference to each of the criteria for fitness to plead, and whether or not the symptoms, impairments or disorders described impact on each of these abilities, and if so, in what manner (defendants are required to have all the abilities described, and so a failure on any will result in the opinion that they are unfit to plead). Tere should then be expression of opinion on • Whether they are unfit to plead and stand trial, on the basis of the absence of these abilities; this is unless there is any uncertainty about the way that the psychiatric


80


• Memory impairment – not for the alleged offence, but so as directly to inhibit performance on one of the Pritchard criteria (see above)


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156