30 Nov. 45

Now, if I might refer the Court to one case which I suspect if I may so use my mind, has not been absent from the Court's mind, because of the wording of the notice which we are discussing today, it is the case of Pritchard in 7 Carrington and Pike, which is referred to in Archibolds' Criminal Pleading in the 1943 edition, at Page 147.

In Pritchard's case, where a prisoner arraigned on an indictment for felony appeared to be deaf, dumb, and also of non-sane mind, Baron Alderson put three distinct issues to the jury, directing the jury to be sworn separately on each: Whether the prisoner was mute of malice, or by the visitation of God; (2) whether he was able to plead; (3) whether he was sane or not. And on the last issue they were directed to inquire whether the prisoner was of sufficient intellect to comprehend the course of the proceedings of the trial so as to make a proper defense, to challenge a juror that is, a member of the jury, to whom he might wish to object and to understand the details of the evidence; and he directed the jury that if there was no certain mode of communicating to the prisoner the details of the evidence so that he could clearly understand them, and be able properly to make his defense to the charge against him, the jury ought to find that he was not of sane mind.

I submit to the Tribunal that the words there quoted, "to comprehend the course of the proceedings of the trial so as to make a proper defense," emphasize that the material time, the only time which should be considered, is whether at the moment of plea and of trial the defendant understands what is charged against him and the evidence by which it is supported.

THE PRESIDENT: And does not relate to his memory at that time.

SIR DAVID MAXWELL-FYFE: That is, I respectfully agree with Your Lordship, it does not relate to his memory. It has never, in English jurisprudence, to my knowledge, been held to be a bar either to trial or punishment, that a person who comprehends the charge and the evidence has not got a memory as to what happened at the time. That, of course, is entirely a different question which does not arise either on these reports or on this application as to what was the defendant's state of mind when the acts were committed. No one here suggests that the defendant's state of mind when the action charged was committed was abnormal, and it does not come into this case.

THE PRESIDENT: He will, it seems to me, be able to put forward his amnesia as part of his defense.