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Section 3 — Meaning of "mental Disorder" in the 1984 Act

Part of Mental Health (Public Safety and Appeals) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2 – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:00 pm on 8th September 1999.

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Photo of Iain Gray Iain Gray Labour 5:00 pm, 8th September 1999

I have only two minutes, Ms Cunningham, and I am summing up, so I should move on.

Amendment 29 would add "anti-social" to the definition, and amendment 30 suggests the addition of "dangerous anti-social". Both fail on two counts the test that we have tried to set. First, personality disorder is the term that has been used for many years and with which we are familiar. By tinkering with it, both proposals run the risk of opening a new gap in the definition.

The more serious concern is that the amendments stray far into the territory of MacLean and Millan. Mr Canavan's question about clarification of the term psychopath is a good indication of how complex that territory is. It is not a term favoured by psychiatrists, but many psychologists use it. To make changes such as "anti-social" or "dangerously anti-social" is to go down a road that we do not have time to explore properly today. For those reasons we cannot accept the amendments.