Holmes is concerned with a conflict between law and medicine about the problem of psychopathy, in particular as it relates to homicide. He looks for a consistent set of legal principles based on a variety of medical concepts and in doing so criticises the court for its commonsense approach, its disregard for medical evidence and for employing lay notions of responsibility and illness. This commentary explores how Holmes's notions fit into existing legal rules and explains how the court seeks the assistance of medical evidence when looking at the evidence as a whole to enable it to decide upon issues of defence, which involve legal and not medical concepts.
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