Issues pertaining to expert evidence and the reasoning about punishment in a neuroscience-based sentencing appeal

Allan McCay*, Christopher James Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we focus on, a significant Australian sentencing appeal in which, after hearing expert evidence pertaining to cognitive function, brain scans, and neuropsychological testing, the Court imposed a less severe sentence than that originally imposed. Our aim is to produce an interdisciplinary critical analysis of the decision, and we approach this by analysing the judicial comments on the evidence pertaining to the offender's mental condition, and the reasoning about punishment. We conclude that the Court's inferences about frontal lobe damage and likely dementia are contestable, and the reasoning about mitigation of punishment based on these questionable inferences could have been improved by a focus on sentencing's retributive aim.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101409
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume65
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Criminal law
  • Dementia
  • Mitigation
  • Moral agency
  • Neurolaw
  • Neuroscience
  • Punishment
  • Sentencing

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