Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Murder case of Olympic athlete

A murder case is paid attention to in South Africa. The defendant is an ex - athlete with physical disabilities. He was under a trial with suspect that he killed his girlfriend. His lawyer claims that he shot her because he misidentified her as an intruder.

In addition, he was suspected to be suffering from mental illnesses. So, he took psychiatric examination. As a result, the examiners concluded he had no mental illness influencing his criminal responsibility.

BBC: Oscar Pistorius 'had no mental disorder', trial hears

Pistorius has Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), according to the defense witness. GAD is one of neuroses, characterized by various anxieties about daily life. In general, such diseases seldom affect the ability of recognizing or handling of patients. I guess no one expected that the defendant would be deemed as insane at the crime, even if the result of psychiatric examination supported the existence of GAD.

Nevertheless, it is important to assess the mental status of the defendant precisely. It is possible that his GAD was somewhat associated with his crime, even not so decisive.

Nowadays, this kind of reports is increasing also in Japan. I feel disappointed whenever watching news in which psychiatric examination is referred only in the context of criminal responsibility. Many people criticize the principle of "not guilty for the reason of insanity". According to them, persons who commit a crime are insane without exception. They seem not to imagine the thought of criminals as normal persons. I can understand their emotions. However, I think it is naive to consider that all criminals are crazy. Human behavior is not able to be simplified so much.


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