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R v Clarke [1972] 1 All ER 219 Court of Appeal

Mrs Clarke, a 58 year old woman, absent-mindedly placed a jar of mincemeat, a jar of coffee and some butter into her bag whilst shopping in a supermarket. She had no recollection of placing the items in her bag. Medical evidence was given at her trial which stated that she was suffering from depression and was diabetic. The trial judge ruled that this raised the defence of insanity. At this point Mrs Clarke changed her plea to guilty and then appealed against the judge's finding of insanity.


Short periods of absent-mindedness fell far short of amounting to a defect of reason.
Back to lecture outline on the law of insanity in criminal liability