Priti Patel raises concerns about diminished responsibility defences in domestic homicide cases

Priti Patel (Witham) (Con): What recent discussions he has had with the Crown Prosecution Service on the use of diminished responsibility defences in domestic homicide cases. [902536]
 
The Solicitor-General (Oliver Heald): The CPS is working to strengthen its approach to domestic homicide cases, particularly where the partial defence of diminished responsibility is raised.
 
Priti Patel: My hon. and learned Friend will be aware that domestic homicide trials where the defence is one of diminished responsibility deteriorate into character assassinations of the victim, rather than focusing on the facts of the case. Will he say what steps the CPS is taking to mitigate that issue, particularly to reduce the trauma to victims and their families?
 
The Solicitor-General: I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her work on homicide as a subject, and I agree with her. The Crown Prosecution Services needs to take and will take a challenging attitude in three areas. The first is unwarranted attacks on the deceased’s character. The second is the need to emphasise the context of domestic violence, which is an aggregating feature, and to bring out evidence about the true dynamics of the relationship, so that such cases are treated as cases of domestic violence. The third is that the CPS should be aware that the existence of a recognised mental condition does not necessarily mean that it amounts to an abnormality of mental functioning sufficient for grounds of diminished responsibility.
 

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