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25.3.3 Case law: There is no intent where volition is disrupted


An injury will not be intentionally self-inflicted, where the client's state of mind is so disrupted that he or she is incapable of forming a clear intention.

The appropriate test for this state of mind is usefully discussed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Re McLaren and Comcare (1992), where work-related stress caused a major depressive illness in the employee which led eventually to his suicide.

The Tribunal found that the employee was insane 'in that he was no longer able to choose whether he would or would not continue to live or whether he could or could not restrain the temptation to suicide'. The criteria for insanity was not the criminal standard, rather the question was whether the medical condition 'dethroned his power of volition'.