Dr. de Moor, in his presidential address to the Belgian Society, in view of the well-known fact that insanity is often overlooked in the law courts, urges the importance of judges being able to acquire, as at Heidelberg University, some knowledge of the mental condition of criminals, and of diseases of the mind generally. Moreover, he would reserve the mental examination of accused persons or prisoners to medical men with special diplomas. The selection of a lunacy expert should always be granted to the defence in a trial. In important cases he is in favour of two experts giving evidence, one of whom should be chosen by the defence; in case of their disagreement, the magistrate, with the consent of the defence, could select a third expert, whose decision would be practically final. In some cases, it is highly desirable that the accused should be placed under observation in an asylum for a limited period (the German law fixes this limit to six weeks). Such a sojourn by a special enactment could be made without prejudice to the accused. In addition to giving correct information concerning the mental condition of the accused (detection of simulation, etc.), such a period of observation in an asylum would turn out to be of real benefit as regards the treatment of the really insane. In exceptional cases the six weeks of observation granted by German law might be extended by permission of the magistrate upon request of the defence. Dr. de Moor in this address does not pretend to deal fully with this question, but merely makes a few suggestions well worth consideration.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.