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Is Legal Responsibility Acquired by Educated Imbeciles?

  • G. E. Shuttleworth (a1)
Extract

The question of the legal responsibility of the insane has been frequently under discussion both by legal and medical writers; and its conditions and limits must, I fear, still be regarded as far from settled; divergent views being held, perhaps naturally, according to the standpoint respectively taken up by the lawyer and the physician. “A lawyer, when speaking of insanity,” says Sir J. F. Stephen, “means conduct of a certain character; a physician means a certain disease, one of the effects of which is to produce such conduct.” It is somewhat remarkable that the legal responsibility of the idiot, and of his milder congener, the imbecile, has hitherto hardly been deemed worthy of discussion; but a recent law case, in which several patients under my care were concerned, has led me to think that a few remarks on the subject may not be altogether uninteresting or unprofitable.

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Throughout this paper the term imbecile is used to denote a person suffering from mental deficiency, either congenital or supervening in infancy, the degree of such deficiency being less than that denoted by the term idiocy.

“Coke upon Littelton,” 247A.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Is Legal Responsibility Acquired by Educated Imbeciles?

  • G. E. Shuttleworth (a1)
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