Competency to stand trial is a concept of jurisprudence, which provides for the postponement of criminal proceedings for those accused persons who are considered to be unable to take part in their defence as a result of a particular mental illness or mental defect. Competency to stand trial is generally a very common field where psychiatric assessment by forensic mental health experts is requested by the courts.
It is a basic tenet of our law of criminal procedure that an accused person must be triable. The latter principle is closely related to another fundamental principle of our criminal procedure which entails that the trial of an accused person must take place in the presence of the accused. An accused’s presence during the trial thus comprises of a physical as well as a psychic or psychological element which provides that the accused must have the required mental capacity to understand and follow his or her trial.