the rules in English law which say that, if it can be proved that someone did not know what they were doing when they carried out a crime or did not know that it was wrong, then they can plead insanity (=give madness as an excuse for their actions). The rules were established as a result of the case of Regina v. McNaughten in 1843.
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
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