Title page for ETD etd-05272011-100103

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Spamers, Marozane
Email marozane@gmail.com
URN etd-05272011-100103
Document Title A critical analysis of the psycholegal assessment of suspected criminally incapacitated accused persons as regulated by the Criminal Procedure Act
Degree LLM
Department Public Law
Advisor Name Title
Prof J le Roux-Bouwer Supervisor
  • forensic mental health assessor
  • English criminal procedure
  • psychology and law
  • non-pathological criminal incapacity
  • mental defect
  • mental illness
  • pathological criminal incapacity
  • criminal capacity
  • psychiatry and law
  • psycholegal assessment
  • expert evidence
Date 2011-04-11
Availability unrestricted

This dissertation critically investigates the current framework for psycholegal assessment of accused persons who are suspected or alleged to have lacked criminal incapacity at the time of committing an offence. This system must function as effectively as possible to ensure the interests of justice and the community are best served. Issues that impact how effectively the criminal justice system collaborates with psychologists and psychiatrists, who act as expert forensic mental health assessors, are identified and recommendations are made accordingly.

The study first examines the theoretical base regarding the terminology surrounding criminal capacity, mental illness and automatism, with regard to how the understanding of concepts differ in law and psychology and psychiatry and how this negatively affects the process of assessment. The study then investigates the constitutional rights of accused persons admitted for observation, the effect this has on the patient and legal process, the accuracy and reliability of the diagnosis and the admissibility of expert evidence. Next a comparative study is made utilising English Law as a tool for analysis.

The main findings are that lack of understanding and clarity are the main issues that hinder the collaboration between the legal and mental health care professions and that this may be remedied by a system of registration and education for forensic psycholegal assessors. An alternate and concurrent method of direct referral is also suggested as it may relieve some of the strain on the current system.

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Spamers, M 2010, A critical analysis of the psycholegal assessment of suspected criminally incapacitated accused persons as regulated by the Criminal Procedure Act, LLM dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05272011-100103/ >

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