R v Westwood (Thomas): diminished responsibility and disposals under the Mental Health Act 1983

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Sean Mennim


diminished responsibility, extended sentences, hospital orders, manslaughter, mentally disordered offenders, restriction orders, sentencing guidelines


This is a commentary on R v Westwood (Thomas), where the Court of Appeal of England and Wales held that the judge had erred in assessing Westwood’s ‘retained responsibility’ as medium to high under the Sentencing Council Guideline for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Although the sentencing judge concluded that the offending was caused by Westwood’s anger, the Court of Appeal found the psychiatric evidence clearly indicated that the most significant factor was Westwood’s mental illness and that his anger at the time of the offence was a manifestation of his mental illness. Westwood’s responsibility was low, and it was appropriate to impose both a hospital and restriction order.


Abstract 207 | NILQ 72.2.8 Mennim Downloads 51