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Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoatsAllocating blame in the criminal justice process$
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Gavin Dingwall and Tim Hillier

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305002

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305002.001.0001

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Blame and the blameless

Blame and the blameless

(p.53) Three Blame and the blameless
Blamestorming, blamemongers and scapegoats

Gavin Dingwall

Tim Hillier

Policy Press

Chapter Three considers situations where individuals are excluded from criminal liability even though they are factually responsible. Two categories of person often incur no criminal liability or are treated differently on the basis of a perceived lack of blame: children and those who lack mental capacity. The chapter considers both in turn, investigating the basis for such claims and assessing whether the law is consistent with the findings of other disciplines such as psychology. A study of insanity and other defences which rest on lack of blame throws up legal inconsistencies and situations where the law fails to accord with principle. Finally, attention is paid to the concept of moral luck, an under-researched topic of great relevance to our study. Often the outcome of an individual’s deliberate action cannot be foreseen: a blow to the head can bruise, injure or kill. Does this arbitrary consequence affect blame?

Keywords:   moral luck, capacity, juveniles, mental disordered offenders, children, harm, blame

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