Sentencing Advisory Council of South Australia

8 August 2013

Dr Arlie Loughnan is the Principal Writer of a new report for the South Australian Attorney General on the issue of defence of mental incompetence.

The discussion paper addresses the operation of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, which provides that a person who is mentally incompetent to commit an offence, cannot be sentenced to imprisonment although they can be detained.

  • In particular the paper makes specific references to:
  • the test of mental incompetence; and
    the supervision of released defendants, including the period of time they are subject supervision.

"Insanity or mental incompetence is a contentious defence and laws are in place to protect those who are genuinely not of sound mind," The Attorney-General,Mr John Rau said.
"However, there has not been a comprehensive review of our State's mental incompetence defence for some time and concerns have been raised in the past by the Parole Board and the community that the threshold for offenders being able to avail themselves of this defence is too low.
"This paper explores these issues and I am keen to seek the public's feedback on this matter during the consultation period.
"If there is consensus for change, I will introduce laws later in the year that deals with this
"I commend the Sentencing Advisory Council for their r thorough report into this important and complex matter."

Dr Loughnan's research concerns criminal law and the criminal justice system, with a focus on the relationship between legal doctrines, practices, institutions and knowledge. Her particular interests are constructions of criminal responsibility and non-responsibility, the interaction of legal and expert medical knowledges and the historical development of the criminal law.
Dr Loughnan's recent book, Manifest Madness explored the intersection of 'madness' and crime.

Discussion Paper:A Discussion Paper considering the operation of the Part 8A of the Criminal Law Conolidation Act 1935 (SA) (PDF 2.7MB)

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 24025d151b432d115d2c202a215e3433311a002c201c65302f1b5b2a3f