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Incorrect schizophrenia diagnosis led to miscarriage of justice

By: Hannah Godfrey BL

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High Court certifies that there was a miscarriage of justice in the applicant's earlier conviction for murder, on the grounds that: (a) the returning of the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity at the retrial amounted to an acquittal within the meaning of the statutory provisions; and (b) there was no reason why an incorrect diagnosis should be treated differently to scientific or other expert error and, therefore, in light of the subsequent acceptance of the diagnosis of schizophrenia as an agreed fact, there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Application under s. 9 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1993 for compensation following miscarriage of justice - applicant had been tried on charge of murdering his infant son in 2001 - at conclusion of trial jury returned special verdict that he was not guilty by reason of insanity - jury accepted the evidence that at the time of the killing the applicant was a schizophrenic suffering from a compelling overpowering delusion - at a previous trial in 2003 this evidence had not been accepted and applicant had been convicted of murder - appeal of that conviction to Court of Criminal Appeal unsuccessful - applicant applied to the Court of Appeal for an order quashing his conviction under s. 2 of the 1993 Act - Court of Appeal took view that applicant's schizophrenia was now accepted fact and had this been case at time of trial then verdict may have been different - retrial was ordered - s. 9 of 1993 Act provides for compensation where there has been a subsequent acquittal and a newly discovered fact shows that there was a miscarriage of justice - whether the verdict in the retrial amounted to an acquittal - whether any newly discovered facts demonstrated a miscarriage of justice.

Note: This is intended to be a fair and accurate report of a decision made public by a court of law. Any errors should be notified to the editor and will be dealt with accordingly.

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