R v Clarke [1972] 1 All ER 219

Key point

  • Momentary loss of concentration or absent mindedness does not amount to a defect of reason required to establish the insanity defence

Facts

  • D had depression and took items from supermarket without paying for them in a midst of absentmindedness
  • Judge ruled that the defence of insanity was raised, D pleaded guilty so as to avoid being labelled insane

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • The momentary loss of concentration or absent mindedness, did not amount to a defect of reason (D retained her ordinary powers of reason)
  • Since D pled guilty solely by reason of the judge’s ruling, the conviction must be quashed