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This article was published in July 2008. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Epilepsy Action on BBC Radio 4

3 Jul 2008

Monica Cooper, Epilepsy Action's epilepsy services manager, took part in BBC Radio 4's 'Law in Action' programme this week.

In 2007, Professor Ronnie Mackay, from De Montfort University in Leicester, carried out research for Epilepsy Action, looking at English criminal law and the defence of insanity. This is an old law that considers the state of someone's mental condition at the time of the alleged crime.  It has been used in some cases where the accused has been having an epileptic seizure at the time of the incident. The outcome is one of two: either they have to plead guilty or 'not guilty by reason of insanity'. The second outcome implies that if you have epilepsy you are insane or at least whilst having an epileptic seizure.

Following Professor Mackay's study, the Law Commission have decided review on this insanity defence, and will extend the project to also look at the fitness to plead guilty or not guilty.

Monica took part in the programme to discuss the situation.  You can hear her contribution online, around 13 minutes into the programme.

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