Criminal law is complex and presenting the correct information is imperative
Our psychiatrists have direct experience of working with mentally disordered offenders and many of our experts have worked in prisons and other criminal justice settings such as court diversion schemes and police liaison teams. Our psychiatrists are frequently instructed to carry out assessments to establish a defendant’s fitness to plead; they have direct experience of the Pritchard criteria and are knowledgeable about the test following its operationalisation of R v M (John)  EWCA Crim 3452 CA. They have first-hand experience of giving evidence at crown court before judges in cases where a defendant has been found to be unfit. In cases where a defendant is found fit to plead, our psychiatrists can suggest adaptations which may need to be made to enable effective participation.
Our psychiatrists are often asked to comment on trial issues. They are practised at providing opinions about a defendant’s mental state at the material time. They understand how mental capacity may affect a defendant’s ability to form mens rea and they have seen innumerable defendants in which the defence of insanity, as per the ‘M’Naghten’ rules, is being considered. Our psychiatrists have experience in assessing individuals who have been charged with murder and are confident in the assessment of diminished responsibility.
Another key area of our practice is the assessment of defendants prior to sentencing. our psychiatrists are often asked to comment on whether mental health treatment is available, whether a hospital order should be given over a custodial sentence and to comment on risk. In many cases, our psychiatrists have been asked to comment on dangerousness; although they can never state whether someone is dangerous or not, our psychiatrists can comment on risk of violence, sexual violence and recidivism.
We can recommend psychologists to provide expert evidence. Psychologists are often required to assess IQ in cases where there is a vulnerable defendant who is suspected of having a learning disability. Psychologists may also be called to conduct assessments of suggestibility and neurocognitive ability.