Vulnerable Offenders: Domestic and Comparative Perspectives’

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This work, published over a five-year-period, focuses upon the availability of mental condition defences to vulnerable offenders. The question addressed is ‘to what extent do mental condition defences adequately accommodate the circumstances of vulnerable offenders within the criminal justice system?’ The publications are timely in charting a pathway for the interpretation and application of the (then) recently introduced partial defences to murder, and recent reviews/reforms to mental condition defences across England and Wales (‘E&W’), Scotland, New South Wales (‘NSW’), Victoria, New Zealand (‘NZ’), and the United States (‘US’), before advancing optimal reform solutions. The publications fall under four themes, each addressing essential aims and objectives of the study. The overarching aim is to provide optimal reform solutions to problems faced by vulnerable offenders in claiming mental condition defences. The objective is to provide a critical exposition of these problems before advancing reform proposals based upon the experiences of the jurisdictions identified. The research method is largely doctrinal 'black-letter', comparative, and reform- focused. The nature of the research means that socio-legal factors also play a significant role. This collection provides a leading point of reference in the field of mental condition defences, which represents one of the most important and sensitive criminal law areas; this work reveals significant problems in the operation and application of the law. The central conclusion reached is that in the context of mental condition defences, a rebalancing exercise must take place, which ensures vulnerable offenders are at the centre of discourse, policy, and reform initiatives. In this regard, these publications provide insights into the interpretation of proposed, new and existing law as it applies to vulnerable offenders. This focus upon making mental condition defences more accessible to the vulnerable offender, and the optimal reform framework advanced demonstrates the extent to which this can be achieved, without risking the integrity of mental condition defences; the NZ Law Commission is considering several of the proposals.
Original languageEnglish
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Reed, Alan, Supervisor
  • Arthur, Raymond, Supervisor
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2016

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