Search Legislation

Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966

 Help about what version

What Version

  • Latest available (Revised)
  • Original (As enacted)
 Help about advanced features

Advanced Features

More Resources

Changes over time for: PART I

 Help about opening options

Alternative versions:

Changes to legislation:

There are currently no known outstanding effects for the Criminal Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, PART I. Help about Changes to Legislation


Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. At the current time any known changes or effects made by subsequent legislation have been applied to the text of the legislation you are viewing by the editorial team. Please see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for details regarding the timescales for which new effects are identified and recorded on this site.

PART IN.I.Provisions as to criminal responsibility

1Meaning of certain expressions used in this Act.N.I.

In this Act—

  • Definition rep. by 1986 NI 4

  • “mental abnormality” means an abnormality of mind which arises from a condition of arrested or retarded development of mind or any inherent causes or is induced by disease or injury;

  • “insane person” means a person who suffers from mental abnormality which prevents him—


    from appreciating what he is doing; or


    from appreciating that what he is doing is either wrong or contrary to law; or


    from controlling his own conduct; and

  • “insanity” shall be construed accordingly.

2Presumption against insanity and rebuttal thereof.N.I.

(1)Subject to the succeeding provisions of this Part, every person charged with an offence shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed not to have been insane at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed.

(2)The presumption mentioned in subsection (1) may be rebutted by satisfying the jury (or, in the case of a summary trial, the court) that, on the balance of probabilities, the presumption is not correct.

(3)On a charge for an offence, the prosecution, with the leave of the court, may assume the burden of proving that the person charged was an insane person and may proceed accordingly subject to any directions which may be given by the court as to the stage of the proceedings at which the prosecution may adduce or elicit evidence tending to such proof.

3Effect of insanity etc., on criminal liability.N.I.

(1)Subject to section 6, if a person charged with the commission of an offence is found to have been, at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed, an insane person within the meaning of this Act, he shall not be convicted of that offence.

Subs.(2), (3) rep. by 1986 NI 4

(4)This section shall have effect in place of any rule of the common law inconsistent with this section.

(5)Nothing in this section shall prejudice any powers exercisableF1. . . by a magistrates, court under[F2 Article 51 of the Magistrates' Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981].

4Inference, from conduct, of knowledge or state of mind.N.I.

(1)Where on a charge for an offence it is necessary to determine the knowledge or state of mind of a person at any time the jury or, in the case of a summary trial, the court, may infer that that person at that time—

(a)had knowledge of his conduct and of the natural and probable consequences of that conduct; and

(b)either intended those consequences, or, if he did not intend them, was reckless as to whether or not they would ensue from that conduct.

(2)The jury, or in the case of a summary trial, the court, shall not be bound to make an inference mentioned in subsection (1) or to disregard any other inference or evidence relevant to the knowledge or state of mind of any person whose knowledge or state of mind is in issue.

(3)Subsection (1) shall not be taken to affect any rule of law governing the decision of questions as to a person's capacity or any special provision made by or under any enactment (including this Act).

Back to top


Print Options


Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made): The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.


See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.


Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Timeline of Changes

This timeline shows the different points in time where a change occurred. The dates will coincide with the earliest date on which the change (e.g an insertion, a repeal or a substitution) that was applied came into force. The first date in the timeline will usually be the earliest date when the provision came into force. In some cases the first date is 01/02/1991 (or for Northern Ireland legislation 01/01/2006). This date is our basedate. No versions before this date are available. For further information see the Editorial Practice Guide and Glossary under Help.