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Mental illness and Criminal Verdicts

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Sukrit Posted: Wed, Dec 12 2012 1:35 AM

Should the fact of mental illness be a reason to find someone not guilty?

A New South Wales butcher who stabbed and bashed his wife to death has been found not guilty of murder due to mental illness.

The man killed his wife last year in the unit above their butcher shop at Cowra in the state's central west.

He cannot be named for legal reasons.

In a judge-only trial, the NSW Supreme Court heard the butcher had delusions his wife was having affairs.

The court heard he had a major depressive disorder and had stopped taking his medication before the killing.

Justice Stephen Rothman handed down the verdict.

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I've never met someone who wasn't mentally ill, and frankly, I don't want to.

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idol replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 2:03 AM

If anything, someone with a mental illness seems more dangerous to the public than a sane murderer who could have just really hated his wife (although obviously I am not saying that murdering her is ok in that instance). 

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Well, ordinarily, when a person is declared mentally unfit to be prosecuted they get sectioned under the mental health act. If they are deemed to pose a danger to themselves or the public they are kept in a secure hospital somewhere. Which is in effect the same as putting them in jail, except they will receive treatment for their illness.

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Blargg replied on Wed, Dec 12 2012 11:51 AM

Well, seeing as mental illness is a fantasy of psychiatrists and their followers, it's a fictitious defense. But it sounds like a moral hazard here; if people have problems like imagining their spouse cheating, excusing them not taking steps to resolve this peacefully (counseling) tells others that they can just ignore their imaginations and be let off if they hurt someone.

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