oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The person with schizophrenia and criminal justice: some aspects

Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Schizophrenia is one of the most common forms of mental illness observed in accused persons in the criminal courts. It is in fact one of the most common forms of mental illness occurring in society. If we accept the figure of one per cent for South Africa, it means that there are at this moment probably more than 400 000 persons with schizophrenia in this country. It has been estimated that in America one·fifth of all chronic disability - including both physical and mental illness - is due to schizophrenia. About ten per cent of all homeless individuals in that country are said to have schizophrenia. It is clear that long before the condition was given a name, it presented itself in the criminal courts in relation to the criminal responsibility and management of the mentally ill. It may be safely assumed that the concept of furiosus us used by our common law authors was also applied to this condition. This is undoubtedly also true of the group of persons which a Roman·Dutch jurist of the same period descriptionbed as mad (dolle) and insane (kranksinnige) persons. t

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