With regards to the defense of insanity, a wrongful act is an act that is defined as an act that is legally wrong and not morally wrong i.e. it must be an act that is in breach of either common law or statutory law and as long as the defendant can appreciate or understand that his actions are legally wrong than the defense of insanity would not be made available to him.
The defense of insanity only comes into play when the defendant is not capable of understanding the nature of his or her act or is not able to comprehend the seriousness of the offence.
In R v Windle (1952) the defendant administered an aspirin overdose to his suicidal wife, who was terminally ill. He was without doubt suffering from a mental condition but during his arrest, he said to the arresting officers “I suppose that they will hang me for this” which implied that the defendant knew that his act was legally wrong, and he was able to understand the seriousness of his act. He was tried and convicted, and the defense appealed.
The appeal was dismissed, and the conviction was upheld. As long as the defendant can appreciate, understand or comprehend the seriousness of his act or actions, the defense of insanity would not be made available to him.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward