Hello. doorART Mark in San Francisco (does your Mum call you that?), Kimberley in Philadelphia, Stephanie in Portland, Sean in China, and Josh in New York – thanks for signing up to the Daily Email.
Last year a British man called John Hogan went on holiday to Greece with his wife, his six-year-old son and his two-year-old daughter. Following a family row, he threw his son from a balcony and killed him. Then, holding his daughter, he threw himself off as well. He and his daughter survived.
This week he was cleared of murder and sent to a psychiatric unit. The judge said he ‘was incapable of murdering his son’ and his ‘responsibility was diminished’ because of his state of mind. It is the latest in a series of cases that have seen people acquitted of murder for this reason.
John Hogan’s ex-wife says it is as if her son ‘died for nothing’. But would it have been right to punish John Hogan in the same way as another with no psychological issues?
Are psychological problems an acceptable excuse for murder? Can they relieve someone of responsibility for their actions? Or are there some crimes where a punishment must be enforced?
These are the guests we have in today’s show:
John Finnegan, whose brother was killed by someone with paranoid schizophrenia
John, served 25 years in jail for manslaughter. He blogs as jailhouselawyer.
Richard Charlton, chair of the Mental Health Lawyers Association in the UK
Professor Mamoun Fandy, Egyptian, Senior Fellow for Gulf Security, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Dr Mona, in Gaza, medical doctor and mother