Open Journal Systems

When Experts Disagree

Choon Leng Eu, Suarn Singh

Abstract


Objective: The objective of this case report is to highlight some learning points behind the reasoning of the Appellate Court in a case where there were two different expert opinions by two forensic psychiatrists from two distinctive Malaysian Approved Psychiatric Hospital in regard to the soundness of mind of Mr. A for an alleged offence punishable by a death penalty. 

Methods: This case report is based on the reasoning of the Appellate Court in rejecting the plea of the prosecutor. 

Results: The High Court order remained in which the defendant was found not guilty due to reason of insanity (NGRI) provided by the Malaysian Law under Section 84 of Penal Code for the charge of dangerous drug trafficking, and he was ordered by court to undergo treatment for his underlyingmental illness in a Psychiatric Institution under Section 348(1) of the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Code. 

Conclusion: In writing expert report, it is preferable to use a singular first-person pronoun in stating the conclusion. If there are other experts involved in either current or previous assessment, it would be beneficial to address their different opinions in the expert report. However, expert opinion is still an ‘opinion',’ and the court would be perfectly entitled to reject or differ from any of the expert opinions when there are proper grounds to do so.

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Keywords


Expert Witness; Expert Opinion; Disagreement; Beyond Reasonable Doubt; Forensic Psychiatrist

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