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non-insane automatism


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Unconscious involuntary conduct caused by some external factor where there is no claim of insanity. A person is not criminally liable for acts carried out in a state of non-insane automatism, since his conduct is altogether involuntary (Hill v Baxter [1958] 1 QB 277). Examples of such acts are those carried out while in a state of concussion or hypnotic trance, a spasm or reflex action, and acts carried out by a diabetic who suffers a hypoglycaemic episode. Non-insane automatism is not a defence, however, if it is self-induced (for example, by taking drink or drugs).

Subjects: Law.


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