HC Deb 16 April 1964 vol 693 cc574-5
8. Commander Kerans

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders have been committed by persons previously known to have committed criminal offences of a psychopathic nature since the Homicide Act 1957.

Mr. Brooke

I regret that this information is not available: offences are not recorded as being of a psychopathic nature.

Commander Kerans

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it is not now necessary to review the whole question of the law dealing with psychopaths and especially the Mental Health Act, 1962? Is the release of these psychopaths by psychiatrists really in the interests of the public? Is not it a shocking thing, as was demonstrated by the Faulkner case which occurred not so long ago? Surely this is not in the interests of the public? Will he review the whole question of the law before the end of this Session?

Mr. Brooke

The question of the Mental Health Act is really one for my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health. As my hon. and gallant Friend will know, when an offender is suffering from a psychopathic disorder the courts have power, in certain cases, under the Mental Health Act to order his detention in hospital for mental treatment. At the same time, I do not think that the House would stand for the prolonged detention of all kinds of people who show psychopathic traits in order to guard against the risks of a very small proportion of them committing serious offences.