UKPC 15
Privy Council Appeal No 0109 of 2009
Marcus Jason Daniel (Appellant) v The State (Respondent)
From the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
JUDGMENT DELIVERED BY
23 May 2012
Heard on 8 March 2012
Julian Knowles QC
Ms Michelle Butler
(Instructed by Simons Muirhead & Burton Solicitors)
Peter Knox QC
(Instructed by Charles Russell LLP)
Consideration of diminished responsibility pre-trial
"However, it is not possible to make a case for insanity or diminished responsibility for the alleged commission of this murder as these personality disorders do not constitute an abnormality of mind that could support such a position. In fact given his latest account, Jason knew clearly what was likely to transpire when he picked up his cousin and at several stages could have derailed the events if he so chose. In fact, he admits to this but could not stop himself from becoming involved in her death."
The fresh evidence
Tactical decision not to run diminished responsibility
Does the fresh evidence disclose a potential defence of diminished responsibility?
"(1) Where a person kills or is a party to the killing of another, he shall not be convicted of murder if he was suffering from such abnormality of mind (whether arising from a condition of arrested or retarded development of mind or any inherent causes or induced by disease or injury) as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts and omissions in doing or being a party to the murder.
(2) On a charge of murder, it shall be for the defence to prove that the person charged is by virtue of this section not liable to be convicted of murder. "
It will be seen that this is in the same terms as the (now repealed) section 2 of the England and Wales Homicide Act 1957.
"It appears to us to be wide enough to cover the mind's activities in all its aspects, not only the perception of physical acts and matters, and the ability to form a rational judgment as to whether an act is right or wrong, but also the ability to exercise will power to control physical acts in accordance with that rational judgment."
"If you think that because he was so affected [by drink, drug and heavy rock music], he did not intend or may not have intended to cause the harm to her, serious injury to her, grievous bodily harm or to kill her, then you must acquit him of the charge of murder
But if you are sure that despite his being affected, as he said, by drugs, drink and/or music, he intended to stab her….then this part of the case is proved against him for a drunken, drugged intent, sweetened even with hard rock music, with lyrics even to kill is still an intention for murder."
"went beyond mere intoxication amounting to psychosis per se. This is suggested by some of his descriptions of his states at various times after having taken drugs. The conclusion that he, at times, suffered from drug induced psychosis, rather than mere intoxication, is reinforced by the nature and fact of his personality disorder, in that individuals with such disorder are substantially more vulnerable to adverse psychotic reactions to drug ingestion."
"The law responds in this way [recognising diminished responsibility], however, because it recognises that the individual is to be pitied since, at the relevant time, he was not as normal people are. There was unfortunately something far wrong with him, which affected the way he acted. By contrast, the law makes no such allowance for failings and emotions, such as anger and jealousy, to which any normal person may well be subject from time to time. They do not call for the law's compassion. Rather, we must master them or else face the consequences. '…it will not suffice in law for the purpose of this defence of diminished responsibility merely to show that an accused person has a very short temper, or is unusually excitable and lacking in self-control. The world would be a very convenient place for criminals and a very dangerous place for other people if that were the law' (HM Advocate v Braithwaite 1945 JC 55, 57-58 per Lord Justice-Clerk Cooper)."
" 'Abnormality of mind' is no more and no less than a state of mind 'so different' from the normal that the reasonable person would describe it as 'abnormal'. The formulation does serve an important function, however, even though it is a very imprecise test. Mental states such as anger, jealousy, temper, exasperation, feeling depressed, love and compassion are emotions and propensities, often ephemeral, to which all ordinary people are susceptible. The reasonable person would not classify them as abnormal, even when such emotions are heightened."
"However, unless there was evidence accepted by the jury to suggest that the defendant, with the co-defendant, set out to kill the victim, or to have sex with her and then to kill her, then any 'metamorphosis' of that intention into the fact of killing her can, in my opinion, be reasonably explained by the presence of 'abnormality of mind.'"
"Although I am not in any way an expert on the psychological effects of 'heavy rock music', particularly in the context of a culture which is not my own, I believe it very likely that there was a direct interaction between the appellant's unstable personality structure, his ingestion of drugs and alcohol and his psychological response to rock music, particularly when intoxicated, in terms of precipitating a severely abnormal mental state at times, including likely at the time of the index offence."