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April 28, 1923


JAMA. 1923;80(17):1253-1255. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640440067020

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Criminal Responsibility  As shown in previous letters the question of criminal responsibility is in a very unsatisfactory state and is constantly giving rise to difficulties in the administration of the law. Three months ago, a committee appointed by the Medico-Psychological Association, consisting of leading psychiatrists, particularly those experienced in prison service, began work on the question of responsibility of criminals. It has issued an important report, which has been sent to a committee of judges appointed by the lord chancellor to consider whether any change should be made in the law relating to criminal trials when the plea of insanity is raised. The committee has unanimously concluded that: 1. The criteria of responsibility expressed in the rules in M'Naghten's case should be abrogated, and the responsibility should be left as a question of fact to be determined by the jury. 2. In every trial in which the prisoner's mental condition

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