A Defence Of Mental Illness

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A defence of mental illness is commonly viewed as a loophole used to escape punishment. Debate surrounds the offender’s state of mind - whether they must be ‘mad’ to commit a crime or simply
‘bad’. The perception that a perpetrator feigning madness can avoid a sentence is not supported by evidence. Only 1% of charges are dismissed under the Mental Health Criminal Procedure Act, which represent a total of 555 charges dismissed (data from the Bureau of Crime Statistics &
Research (1996), accounting for only 0.3 % of the total criminal charges finalised in NSW local courts in 1996.
Individuals whose charges are dismissed may be transferred through the court diversion program, and those who become forensic patients may spend a longer period incarcerated
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