Feedback is being sought on proposed new guidance for prosecutors, concerning scenarios where a mental health disorder might negate allegations of intent or recklessness.
People with certain mental health conditions may become less likely to face prosecution under planned changes to the legal guidance issued to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
A public consultation on the proposed changes has opened and feedback can be shared up until June 4.
The CPS wants to ensure that prosecutors are given optimal assistance when taking the decision to prosecute in such cases and when they prosecute them in court.
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The changes could see the legal system better reflect the Equality Act and the United Nations' convention on the rights of disabled people.
The section on fitness to plead has been expanded and there is additional guidance for prosecutors in circumstances where the suspect’s mental health means that a nominal penalty is the likely outcome.
The consultation is seeking views on four main areas of the proposed revisions to the guidance:
- Information prosecutors need about each mental health condition or disorder
- Appropriate public interest factors
- Appropriate factors when considering diversion from prosecution
- Whether the “fitness to plead” procedure is set out clearly and accurately