Golds, Regina v: SC 30 Nov 2016

The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder, saying that he should have been only convicted of manslaughter, applying the new test for diminished responsibility as provided under the 1957 Act as amended, and particularly whether the judge should have given directions as to the meaning of ‘substantially’ in the context of his acknowledged impairment.
Held: The appeal failed. Ordinarily the word substantial is sued to mean either (1) ‘present rather than illusory or fanciful, thus having some substance’, or (2) ‘important or weighty’. In this context of diminished responsibility, the authorities established that term ‘substantially’ was always be used in the second of the two possible meanings. This usage also accorded with the principle that there must be a weighty reason for a reduction from murder to the lesser
offence of manslaughter. Mere non-triviality was not enough.
‘There is no basis for thinking that when the same expression was carried forward into the new formulation of diminished responsibility any change of sense was intended. The adverb ‘substantially’ is applied now, as before, to the verb ‘impaired’. In the absence of any indication to the contrary, Parliament is to be taken to have adopted the established sense in which this word has been used for 50 years.’


Lord Neuberger, President, Lady Hale, Deputy President, Lord Kerr, Lord Reed, Lord Hughes, Lord Toulson, Lord Thomas


[2016] UKSC 61, [2016] WLR(D) 636, UKSC 2015/0053


Bailii, WLRD, Bailii Summary, SC, SC Summary


Homicide Act 1957 8, Coroners and Justice Act 2009


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Ramchurn CACD 2-Feb-2010
The defendant had planned and executed the killing of his wife’s lover, a cousin, having given him a home. He threatened that he would kill him, and prepared to do so, trying to get keys to gain access to the victim’s home, and when that failed . .
Appeal fromGolds, Regina v CACD 2-May-2014
The defendant appealed against his conviction for murder, sayng that the jury had been wrongly directed as to the meaning of ‘substantial impairent when considering the alternative of manslaughter . .
CitedRegina v Aslam CACD 1-Dec-2011
The defendant had been convicted of manslaughter on an indictment for murder. The jury was directed under the new law to the effect that the reference to ‘substantially impaired’ required the jury to conclude that the impairment was more than . .
CitedHM Advocate v Savage HCJ 21-May-1923
The Court considered whether a borderline insanity was an impairment for the purposes of homicide. . .
CitedRegina v Spriggs CCA 1958
The court considered the then conventional formulations employed in Scotland in relation to the level of impairment, which included (but were not confined to) references to the borderline of insanity . .
CitedScarsbrook or Galbraith v Her Majesty’s Advocate (No.2) HCJ 21-Jun-2001
The court considered the defence of diminished responsibility to a charge of murder.
Held: Lord Rodger of Earlsferry: ‘It is, of course, impossible to attempt to describe the ambit of the doctrine of diminished responsibility without even . .
CitedRegina v Byrne CCA 1960
The defendant was a sexual psychopath who had strangled and mutilated a young woman resident of the YWCA. The case on his behalf was that he was unable to resist his impulse to gross and sadistic sexual violence. The judge’s directions had amounted . .
CitedRegina v Matheson CCA 1958
The defendant raised a defence of dimished responsibility under the 1957 Act to a charge of murder. Three doctors called for the defence at the trial had stated that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of mind due to arrested or retarded . .
CitedRegina v Simcox CCA 25-Feb-1964
A man who had previously murdered his second wife and had now sought out his third wife, with whom he was in dispute, taking with him a rifle with which he shot her sister when it was her whom he encountered. Some four psychiatrists agreed that he . .
CitedRegina v Lloyd CCA 1967
The defendant had killed his wife. There was evidence that from time to time he had suffered recurrent episodes of reactive depression. Two psychiatrists gave evidence that this was a mental abnormality which to some extent impaired his mental . .
CitedRegina v Seers CACD 1984
Assessing Degree of Impairment
The court considered whether the defendant’s depression could amount to an impairment.
Griffiths LJ said: ‘It is to be remembered that in Byrne . . all the doctors agreed that Byrne could be described as partially insane; he was a sexual . .
CitedRegina v Gittens CACD 1984
Lord Lane set out the directions to be given to a jury on the defence of diminished responsibility: ‘Where a defendant suffers from an abnormality of mind arising from arrested or retarded development or inherent causes or induced by disease or . .
CitedRegina v Egan CACD 1992
The court considered the appropriate directions to a jury in diminished responsibility defence to murder charge.
Watkins LJ said: ‘In R v Lloyd . . directions as to the word ‘substantial’, to the effect that (1) the jury should approach the . .
CitedRegina v Ramchurn CACD 2-Feb-2010
The defendant had planned and executed the killing of his wife’s lover, a cousin, having given him a home. He threatened that he would kill him, and prepared to do so, trying to get keys to gain access to the victim’s home, and when that failed . .
CitedRegina v Dietschmann HL 27-Feb-2003
Voluntary drunkenness No Diminished Responsibility
The defendant had been convicted of murder. At the time of the assault, he was both intoxicated to the point of losing his inhibitions and was also suffering an abnormality of mind sufficient substantially to reduce his mental responsibility.
CitedBrutus v Cozens HL 19-Jul-1972
The House was asked whether the conduct of the defendant at a tennis match at Wimbledon amounted to using ‘insulting words or behaviour’ whereby a breach of the peace was likely to be occasioned contrary to section 5. He went onto court 2, blew a . .
CitedRegina v Galbraith CCA 1981
Rejection of Submission of No Case to Answer
The defendant had faced a charge of affray. The court having rejected his submission of having no case to answer, he had made an exculpatory statement from the dock. He appealed against his conviction.
Held: Lord Lane LCJ said: ‘How then . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 03 September 2022; Ref: scu.571946