House of Lords
8 Eng. Rep. 718 (1843)
M’Naghten (defendant) mistakenly shot Edward Drummond, secretary to the prime minister, believing he was the prime minister, Sir Robert Peel. Upon his arrest, M’Naghten told police that he had come to London to murder Peel because “[t]he tories in my city follow and persecute me wherever I go, and have entirely destroyed my piece of mind. [T]hey do everything in their power to harass and persecute me; in fact they wish to murder me.” At trial, defense counsel introduced extensive expert and lay evidence to show that M’Naghten was obsessed with delusions and suffered from acute insanity. Consequently, the trial judge instructed the jury that if M’Naghten was not “sensible” or “in a sound state of mind” at the time of the crime, then he should not be found guilty. The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty, on the ground of insanity.” Thereafter, members of the English judiciary convened to discuss the theory of insanity as a defense to a criminal charge.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Tindal, Lord C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 201,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.