Substantial impairment by abnormality of mind is defined as a state of mind so different from that of ordinary human beings that a responsible person would deem it to be abnormal. Substantial impairment by abnormality of mind is a partial defence to murder, reducing a murder charge to manslaughter if:

At the time of the acts/omissions causing death the person’s capacity to:

  • understand events
  • judge whether the person’s actions were right or wrong or
  • control himself or herself

was substantially impaired by an abnormality of mind arising from an underlying condition AND the impairment was so substantial as to warrant liability for murder being reduced to manslaughter.

When determining the existence of this partial defence, the onus of proof is on the accused. Thus, the accused must prove that it was most probable, at the time of the alleged offence, that they were suffering from Substantial Impairment by abnormality of mind.

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