Guilt without knowledge
In most legal systems the accused may escape prosecution due to mental incapacity, be this low IQ, an inability to tell right from wrong, or even being in a coma. Would justice be served if an otherwise healthy accused had no memory of the crimes he has, in fact, committed?
I have a WIP story in which the MC is an empath who becomes the prime suspect in a string of psychosomatic murders. He begins to suspect he is actually the killer, although he has no memory of committing these crimes.
The plot uses the idea of self-induced schizophrenia (or, more properly ‘multiple personality disorder’) as a way for the psyche to cope with severe trauma. In this case the MC is killing whilst in the throes of a psychotic break, with the original personality recoiling in horror from the realisation of what he has done. What takes over is a virtually identical version of himself, but one that lacks knowledge of critical events. These are not repressed memories, they are memories that, in a very real sense, belong to someone else.
In the above situation would the old adage ‘ignorance is no defense’ condemn an individual for acts his body has committed?