Concept

M'Naghten rules

Summary
The M'Naghten rule (pronounced, and sometimes spelled, McNaughton) is any variant of the 1840s jury instruction in a criminal case when there is a defence of insanity: that every man is to be presumed to be sane, and ... that to establish a defence on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of the committing of the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing; or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong. The rule was formulated as a reaction to the acquittal in 1843 of Daniel M'Naghten on the charge of murdering Edward Drummond. M'Naghten had shot Drummond after mistakenly identifying him as the British Prime Minister Robert Peel, who was the intended target. The House of Lords asked a panel of judges, presided over by Sir Nicolas Conyngham Tindal, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, a series of hypothetical questio
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