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'They're Not Really Doing "Normal" Psychiatry': The Socio-Legal Shaping of Psychiatric Expertise in Insanity Trials

Thom, Katey and Finlayson, Mary (2013). 'They're Not Really Doing "Normal" Psychiatry': The Socio-Legal Shaping of Psychiatric Expertise in Insanity Trials. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law,20(1):46-59.

Document type: Journal Article

IRMA ID 83093774xPUB181
Title 'They're Not Really Doing "Normal" Psychiatry': The Socio-Legal Shaping of Psychiatric Expertise in Insanity Trials
Author Thom, Katey
Finlayson, Mary
Journal Name Psychiatry, Psychology and Law
Publication Date 2013
Volume Number 20
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1321-8719   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84873664349
Start Page 46
End Page 59
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract The use of psychiatric expertise in criminal trials has generally been construed as problematic despite the fact that there remains little in-depth research in this area. Qualitative research on other forensic experts has indicated the existing literature on psychiatric expert testimony may be simplifying the dynamics that occur in practice between psychiatry and law. This article draws on data generated from 31 qualitative interviews and medico-legal documentation to explore the socio-legal shaping of forensic psychiatrist's expertise during insanity trials in New Zealand. It describes how the hybrid features of the insanity defence shape forensic psychiatrists' practices in this context to the point that their performances as expert witnesses cannot be adequately described as doing ‘normal psychiatry’. Rather, adding to the existing body of social studies of forensic expertise, the article exemplifies how the forensic psychiatrists' practices are inextricably linked to the legal context in which they are operating. It concludes by demonstrating that the ‘art’ of forensic psychiatry involves managing the hybrid nature of the expertise they provide in cases of insanity.

Keywords expert witness
forensic psychiatry
insanity
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2011.619060   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Fri, 17 Jan 2014, 00:55:13 CST