Psychiatry and Criminal Reponsibility

Principal Investigator:

Dr Ivan Crozier


This project has three linked parts, all of which examine the role of psychiatry in the courtroom in (usually murder) cases where the responsibility of the defendent is called into question.  They are:

  1. "The Trial of Ronald True: The Place of Psychiatry in a 1922 Murder Trial", a book under contract with Palgrave that examines an attempt to alter the M'Naghten Rules in an important trial.  This project situates True's trial in relation to the struggles between the law, the Medico-Psychological Association, and the British Medical Association.
  2. "M'Naghten and Murder in Colonial East Africa", in which I look at the adaptations of the M'Naghten Rules in Africa as a test for the ways that new psychiatric theories could alter the legal process, and the occasional failures of such cases (such as R. v Ross, 1932, Kenya).  This strand of my research considers the added dimension of cultural difference, and specifically of beliefs in supernatural, which challenged the principles of the M'Naghten Rules.
  3. "Psychiatry and Criminal Responsibility it Comparative Perspective", does what it says on the tin.  It is a a comparative international project with Harry Oosterhuis of Maastricht University and Richard Wetzell at the German historical Institute, Washington DC, based on conferences and workshops held in Edinburgh, Padua and Lisbon, with papers from a variety of internation contributors that address the problems psychiatry faced in relation to the law in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.