Burrows and R. Rennie, where Mr Justice Holroyd refused to recognise drunkenness as an excuse for a criminal offence unless that drunkenness constituted a continuing or permanent condition of insanity. The proposition enunciated in R. Davis was confirmed four years later by Mr Justice Day in R. Beard the Lord Chancellor, Lord Birkenhead, expressly approved this proposition, making clear that drunkenness causing only temporary insanity did constitute a defence to a criminal charge.
Twentieth Century Authorities The first important common law statement in the twentieth century concerning drunkenness and criminal responsibility occurred in R. The defendant was found guilty of murder and appealed on the basis that the trial judge had led the jury to believe that a verdict of manslaughter required evidence that the defendant was insane or in a condition similar to insanity.
Doherty, in that its application was universal and not restricted to offences where intent was an essential element of the crime charged. Meade remained the leading authority until when the House of Lords delivered its decision in D. The trial judge directed the jury that the defence of drunkenness could only be relied upon if it produced in the defendant a state of insanity. The House of Lords reinstated the murder conviction making important pronouncements concerning intoxication and criminal responsibility.
Commentators have criticised the approach, some arguing that evidence of intoxication should be able to negative mens rea for any offence. One of the major controversies was whether evidence of self-induced intoxication could be raised by a defendant in relation to any offence to show that he or she did not have the appropriate guilty mind for the offence charged, or whether evidence of self-induced intoxication was only relevant to offences with a specific intent; that is, offences with an intention to achieve a particular result.
It is arguable that, in the first passage, Lord Birkenhead may not have meant to distinguish between offences of specific and basic intent, but he may simply have been referring to offences where intent is an important element of an offence. Controversy aside, the principle that was subsequently applied by most judges and practitioners in England was that which distinguished between offences of specific and basic intent, with the consequence that where a defendant was charged with an offence of specific intent, evidence of self-induced intoxication was able to be relied upon by a defendant to show that he or she did not have the necessary intent.
Another interesting point is that while Lord Birkenhead spoke of the effect of intoxication on the capacity of the defendant to form the relevant mental state, subsequent decisions altered the rule so that the crucial question was whether the prosecution could prove that the defendant formed the requisite mental element in fact. He was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and assaulting a constable in the execution of his duty. He gave evidence that he had consumed a large quantity of alcohol and drugs and that at the time of the alleged offences he did not know what he was doing and had no intention of striking anyone.
The trial judge directed the jury that self-induced intoxication was irrelevant and could afford him no defence. The defendant was convicted and the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal. However, the Court of Appeal certified the following question as a point of law of public importance for the consideration of the House of Lords, namely Whether a defendant may properly be convicted of assault notwithstanding that by reason of his self-induced intoxication, he did not intend to do the act alleged to constitute the assault.
The House of Lords was unanimous in concluding that even though the defendant was intoxicated he could be convicted of the assault. In reaching that conclusion their Lordships were prepared to sacrifice legal consistency and logic on grounds of public policy. The commonly accepted view of the principle laid down in the case is that in relation to crimes of basic intent, evidence of self-induced intoxication cannot be considered when determining whether a defendant formed the intention to commit the offence or whether a defendant acted voluntarily.
Where the intoxication produced a state of insanity, evidence of self-induced intoxication may be considered to determine whether a defendant formed the mental element for offences of basic intent. If a charged crime is a specific intent crime, meaning that the criminal defendant must have had the specific intent to commit the crime in question, involuntary intoxication can be a defense to criminal charges if it prevents the defendant from forming the intent that is required.
For instance, the defendant may not understand the nature of his or her actions or may be deemed incapable of obtaining the state of mind necessary to commit the crime. A common example is the crime of assault, which requires an intent to cause harm. If an individual becomes violent as a result of an involuntary intoxication and commits an assault, he or she may be able to argue that the intoxication prevented him or her from forming the intent to cause harm.
The concepts of basic and specific intent are ambiguous, confusing and misleading. The Law Commission has created a proposal to abandon them but the substance of the distinction has been retained. The blameworthiness of the defendant is expressed by an evaluation of criminal liability. If a man commits mischief when intoxicated, should society take steps in the framework of the criminal law to prevent him?
Judicial insistence upon the requirement of mens rea might remove the problem of antisocial drinking but alternatives will not develop if the courts allow these problems to be thrust upon them. The Majewski decision has been criticized as it allows conviction for causing harm where mens rea has not been formed.
This is even the case where a defendant is convicted of a basic intent offence instead of a stricter specific intent offence.
The House of Lords decision acknowledged the principle of allowing intoxication to be adduced to show that the mens rea for specific intent offences did not exist. They were persuaded by policy objectives to convict of basic intent offences despite the intoxication. Is this a clear and logical compromise? The idea to secure conviction for serious offences without satisfying the criteria of mens rea is conjured.
This conflicts with the burden of proof, which is placed on the prosecution. As a result, the liability for the harm caused whilst intoxicated goes against the principle of contemporaneity and is constructive, which is contrary to the trend of current law reform. The English law reform bodies have created proposals to replace Majewski with a separate offence of intoxication. This separate offence would remove the possibility of a complete acquittal, which is available in specific intent crimes.
This contrasts with previous social policy illustrated in the case of Reniger v Fogossa where a drunken killer was hanged to death to protect human life. The bare components of the law on intoxication are complex but the added series of exceptions that the Law Commission have proposed to introduce, in my opinion, will undermine the principle of justice in England and Wales.
He declares intoxication will constitute fault only where the burden is replaced by subjective reasonableness and if the defendant would have foreseen the risk if sober. I believe more research needs to be given to determine the extent of their connection and ultimately decide whether they are analogous or mutually exclusive.
Ultimately, liability is ascertained by the intention element but how can this truly be deduced when automatons are intoxicated? X began drinking after he killed his wife, however because there was no witness, the claim of Mr. X was able to reduce his charge by making a false statement while not having to prove that statement.
That is obstruction of justice and perjury. If ntoxication was not allowed to be used as a defence of intent of the crime, Mr. X would not be able to get his charge reduced and therefore he would be charged with the crime that he actually committed.
If intoxication is used as a defence for crime and the accused receives a lighter sentence or no sentence at all, it is unfair to the victim. Daviault,  3 S. Daviault sexually assaulted an elderly woman with a disability during extreme intoxication. This case is an example of exceptional circumstances where extreme intoxication was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The disabled elderly woman who was the victim of this case still suffered and does not even have the satisfaction of knowing that the person that wronged her may not be punished.
The degree of intoxication may not even matter in most sexual assault cases. Research suggests that intoxication is merely used as an excuse to get away with the crime. On Canlii. One could question that if a sexual offender, while intoxicated, has the mental ability to distinguish between a related and unrelated person, then that offender has the mental ability to have the reasonable mind set to know the consequences of sexual assault and that it is illegal.
Further to the research on Canlii. A lighter sentence to the perpetrator would not help the psychological damage that victim has to deal with. Instead it might be worse because the victim may feel that they have been wronged for the second time; the second time being by the justice system.This finality makes it proper to regard death as the most serious harm help may be inflicted on another, and to regard a person essay chooses to free printable writing paper for 1st grade that harm without justification or excuse as the most culpable of offenders. On perhaps no other legal issues have courts so widely differed, or so often changed their views, as that of the legal responsibility of intoxicated offenders. A man who commits a crime under the influence of intoxication may have otherwise led a normal and responsible life. His acts committed under the influence of alcohol may not reflect his real defence. It could have been a mere aberration in his life.
This example shows that the degree of proof required proving intoxication is not rigorous enough. I believe more research needs to be given to determine the extent of their connection and ultimately decide whether they are analogous or mutually exclusive. In the case of R v Hardie, the question of whether valium could be classed as an intoxicant arose. The son called the police and the father was arrested with police charging the father with murder.
This supports the idea that in specific intent crimes, the mens rea extends beyond the actus reus and in basic intent crimes, the mens rea goes no further than the constituents in the actus reus. The proof of the act, actus reus, is required. The blameworthiness of the defendant is expressed by an evaluation of criminal liability. They have the responsibility of reasonable care. The degree of proof required to prove intoxication is balance of probabilities. But where there is no such common knowledge, as in the case of a sedative drug, different rules apply.
Feogossa: If a person that is drunk kills another, this shall be felony, and he shall be hanged for it, and yet he did it through ignorance, for when he was drunk he had no understanding nor memory; but inasmuch as that ignorance was occasioned by his own act and folly, and he might have avoided it, he shall not be privileged thereby. Two later decisions, Bailey10 and Hardie11, suggest that drugs must be divided into two categories. Carroll,99 where he held that drunkenness could not be taken into consideration where premeditation was in issue. Judicial insistence upon the requirement of mens rea might remove the problem of antisocial drinking but alternatives will not develop if the courts allow these problems to be thrust upon them. Thus, the defendant might find charges reduced to a lesser crime if he or she successfully proves that intoxication limited his or her intent or comprehension of the crime.
Rennie, where Mr Justice Holroyd refused to recognise drunkenness as an excuse for a criminal offence unless that drunkenness constituted a continuing or permanent condition of insanity.