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France

  • René Semelaigne
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In a Paris restaurant on January 2nd, 1911, an alcoholic shot and killed, without provocation, a peaceful diner. Dr. Vallon, the medical expert, concluded that the accused, who had a family history of insanity, was a congenital deséquilibré, a chronic inebriate addicted to alcohol and ether; that the murder had been committed in a state of intoxication, and had been forgotten by the prisoner; that he was not insane, and was criminally responsible; that, nevertheless, in consideration of his hereditary and acquired predisposition he might be considered as having been in a state of pathological inebriation at the time when the act alleged against him was committed; and that in consequence his responsibility was modified. The trial took place on August 3rd, and the accused was acquitted and discharged; but the members of the jury in a letter to the Ministre de la Justice represented that criminals acquitted as irresponsible, remained a danger to the public safety, and earnestly requested that the competent authority should send such persons to custody in a specially constituted establishment, to be detained until it should be duly certified that they were no longer dangerous.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
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  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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France

  • René Semelaigne
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