Defending the delusional, the irrational, and the dangerous

Child, J J, Crombag, H S and Sullivan, G R (2019) Defending the delusional, the irrational, and the dangerous. Criminal Law Review. ISSN 0011-135X (Accepted)

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Abstract

Simon Taj began drinking heavily on Friday 29 January 2016 and continued into the early hours of Saturday 30 January. At roughly 2 pm on Sunday 31st January 2016, Taj came across the broken-down vehicle of Mohammed Awain. The vehicle was smoking, and Awain was standing beside it. Unfortunately, Taj mistook the wires and equipment he saw in the open boot of Awain’s car (Mr Awain is an electrician) as the components of a terrorist bomb which he was on the point of assembling to explode. Taj called the police, who attended the scene, to find that Awain was entirely innocent. Taj initially drove away following police assurances as to Awain’s innocence, but soon returned, still convinced that Awain was indeed a terrorist. Taj felt that he must do something to stop him. At 2.46 pm, Taj launched a ferocious attack on Awain with a metal tyre lever, almost killing him. When police arrived and restrained Taj, he expressed surprise – ‘why are you arresting me he's the terrorist’. Taj was so calm and lucid at interview, the police officers present did not arrange for blood samples to be taken. He was charged with attempted murder, but claimed to have acted in self-defence on the basis of his mistaken belief.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Delusions, self-defence, insanity, mistake, Criminal Law
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Crime Research Centre
Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC)
Sussex Neuroscience
Subjects: K Law > KD Law of the United Kingdom and Ireland
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QZ Psychology
Depositing User: Hans Crombag
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 08:29
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2019 08:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/87643

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