Murderous Minds on Trial


Each murder trial brings its own tangle of evidence, legal parameters, medical factors, social circumstances, and personalities. The tangle gets trickier when we must keep in mind that: "A person shall not be criminally responsible for an act or omission if they suffer from a mental disorder such that they were not able to appreciate the nature and quality of their act or to know that it was wrong."

Forensic Psychiatrist Stanley Semrau takes us through some of the more terrible and fascinating tales from his career and from historical sources, including several cases that came to national attention: Clifford Olson and Terry Driver (The Abbotsford Killer) and the Daniel McNaughten case that marked the beginning of the insanity defense in Britain in 1843.

These chilling and thought-provoking stories delve deep into the psychiatric aspects of homicide law and into the psychology of the muderous mind. Semrau’s examination of these thrilling cases also offers a critique of the existing laws in Canada as he argues for profound changes.


For both the reader and for people who work in field related to crime and justice, this is an engaging and thoughtful book.

Vancouver Sun

About the Authors

Judy Gale

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Judy Gale

Judy Gale is a professional writer and amateur psychiatrist who has traveled around the world, cycling through such disparate places as Bhutan and Vietnam. Besides a degree in International Studies, she has an MBA from Simon Fraser University.