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Cases - defences - intoxication

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AG for NI v Gallagher [1961] HL
Aitken, Bennett, Barson, R v (1992) CA
Allen, R v (1988) CA
Bailey, R v (1983) CA
Beard, DPP v (1920) HL
Blakely & Sutton v DPP [1991] QBD
Caldwell, R v (1982) HL
Fotheringham, R v (1989) CA
Hardie, R v (1984) CA
Hatton, R v [2005] (CA)
Hendy, R v [2006] CA
Jaggard v Dickinson [1980] QBD
Kingston, R v (1993) HL
Lipman, R v (1970) CA
Majewski, DPP v (1977) HL
O'Connor, R v [1991] CA
O'Grady, R v [1987] CA
Quick, R v (1973) CA
Richardson & Irwin [1999] CA
Stubbs, R v (1989) CA
Tandy, R v (1989) CA
 

AG for NI v Gallagher [1961] HL

 

Red triangle indicating important information

 

[Intoxication as a defence - Dutch Courage rule - no defence]
D killed his wife. He drank a bottle of whisky to give him the "Dutch courage" to do so.

Held: As long as D had the mens rea of murder at the time of drinking the whisky, and did not positively discard it, he could properly be convicted. Lord Denning: defence not available to either 'specific' or 'basic' intent, if drink or drugs taken to fortify courage. 

Guilty

Aitken, Bennett, Barson, R v (1992) CA

^[Assault – Sec 20 an offence of basic intent - consent by conduct therefore intoxication not a defence]
D's RAF officers at a party at the completion of their flying training. They drank a lot. There was some horseplay that was treated it as a joke.

D's set fire to V's fire resistant suit. In his drunken state he could only resist weakly. Flames flared up rapidly and although the appellants took immediate action to put out the fire but G was severely burned.

Held: Section 20 not an offence of specific intent.
Therefore drunkenness is no defence to the forming of the intent necessary.

D’s would have acted maliciously if they had foreseen that their actions would result in injury to V or would have foreseen injury but for drunkenness.
 
A victim can give effective consent to the risk of accidental injury in the course of rough undisciplined play.

Moreover, if D honestly but mistakenly believed that V had consented (or in this case, would have so believed had they not been intoxicated), that too would be a defence.

Not Guilty of GBH

Allen, R v (1988) CA
 

[Intoxication – voluntary starting drinking – rules of voluntary intoxication apply throughout]
D drank in a pub, and then some home made wine, not knowing its strength. He then committed an appalling indecent assault on his neighbour. 

Held: If the defendant knows that he is drinking alcohol but is mistaken as to its strength, he has to rely on the rules of voluntary intoxication apply. 

Guilty

Bailey, R v (1983) CA

[Automatism - self-induced - available for specific or basic intent in some circumstances]
D seriously injured a rival in love with an iron bar. D, a diabetic, visited his ex-girlfriend and her new partner. He took insulin and drank some sugared water but he had nothing to eat.

He assaulted the partner of his ex-girlfriend. He said he hit him to teach him a lesson for associating with the girl. D claimed he acted in a state of automatism caused by hypoglycaemia. He did not complicate the issue with alcohol or drugs.

Held: Automatism, even if self-induced could provide a defence to a crime of basic intent crime (unless caused by intoxication). What must be considered is whether D, in view of his knowledge of the likely results of his actions, was sufficiently reckless. It was not necessarily reckless to fail to take food after a dose of insulin.

Guilty although non-insane (self-induced) automatism, no injustice at trial.

Beard, DPP v (1920) HL
 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Intoxication - D cannot form specific intent]
D whilst drunk raped 13 yr old Ivy Wood, he placed his hand upon her mouth to stop her from screaming, pressing his thumb on her throat. She died of suffocation. 

Lord Birkenhead accidentally used term specific/basic intent.

Held : Drunkenness was no defence unless it could be established that the accused at the time of committing rape was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intent to commit it.

The death resulted from a succession of acts, the rape and the act of violence causing suffocation, which could not be regarded independently of each other. The trial Judge was mistaken in applying the test of insanity to a case of drunkenness not amounting to insanity.

Guilty murder

Blakely & Sutton v DPP [1991] QBD

[Intoxication as a defence – offence of strict liability]
DD secretly laced a man drinks with spirits at a party. They wanted to make him so drunk that he would be unable to drive home and would have to spend the night with them.

He left and started to drive home.

Held: He was subsequently convicted of driving with excess alcohol but given an absolute discharge (it is an offence of strict liability).
DD were acquitted of procuring this offence, because of their lack of any foresight that the offence would in fact be committed.
 

Caldwell, R v (1982) HL

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Objective recklessness]
In respect of Criminal Damage this case has been overruled by R v G and another [2002] HL
D caused criminal damage with intent to endanger life or being reckless as to whether life was endangered. . D worked at a hotel. After a quarrel with his employer, D got drunk and set fire to the hotel.

D pleaded not guilty on the ground that, being intoxicated, he was unable to appreciate the risk.

Held :
Lord Diplock
In order to establish that D was reckless in a charge of criminal damage, the jury must consider a two-part test:

  1. Did D commit an act which created an obvious risk that property would be damaged? and

  2. When D committed the act did he either give no thought to the possibility of there being a risk or, having recognised the risk, did he go on to take it?

His self-induced intoxication would have been relevant, but since it was that he had been reckless as to the danger, evidence of self-induced intoxication was irrelevant to his guilt.

Guilty

Fotheringham, R v (1989) CA
 

[Intoxication – voluntary starting drinking – rules of voluntary intoxication apply throughout]
D raped the babysitter after arriving home with his wife. Expecting to be returning late told the baby-sitter to sleep in their bed. When the couple returned home the husband, got into the bed and raped the baby-sitter. His defence was that he was drunk and thought he was in bed with his wife.

Held: Intoxication that is self-induced is no defence to rape.

Guilty

Hardie, R v (1984) CA

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Intoxication – voluntary taking drugs (except non-dangerous drugs – rules of voluntary intoxication apply throughout]
D started a fire in a friend's flat after taking valium (not prescribed for him).

Held: Caldwell distinguished because he did not have the mens rea, and considered that while intoxication cannot usually be pleaded as a defence to offences of recklessness, the rule will not generally apply to drugs …
... if the effect of a drug is merely soporific or sedative the taking of it, even in some excessive quantity, cannot in the ordinary way raise a conclusive presumption against the admission of proof of intoxication for the purpose of disproving mens rea in ordinary crimes, such as would be the case with alcoholic intoxication or incapacity or automatism resulting from the self-administration of dangerous drugs.

Not guilty

Hatton, R v [2005] (CA)

[Intoxication – rule in O’Grady is correct – intoxicated mistake not relevant to self-defence]
D beat the deceased to death with a sledgehammer after drinking over 20 pints of beer His recollection of events was unclear but he believed that he was under attack. The issue was the reasonableness of D’s reaction as he had believed the facts to be, even if that belief was mistaken and the mistake was caused by his intoxication.

Held: In self-defence, a mistake induced by drunkenness cannot be relied on.

The decision in O’Grady was not obiter simply because it was a case of manslaughter, and that, accordingly, anything said about the law of murder had to have been unnecessary to the decision.

The issue considered by the court in O’Grady  had been whether a defendant who raised the issue of self-defence was entitled to be judged on the basis of what he mistakenly believed to be the situation when that mistaken belief was brought about by self-induced intoxication by alcohol or drugs. To that issue, the court had ruled that he was not.

Guilty

Hendy, R v [2006] CA

^[Intoxication - effect of intoxication can be disregarded in diminished responsibility]
D stabbed and killed a complete stranger. D raised diminished responsibility, there was evidence that alcohol, had played a part in the killing.
 
Held: D did not have to show that if he had been sober, he would still have killed the victim to benefit from diminished responsibility.

Section 2(1) of the Homicide Act 1957 meant that, if - ignoring the effect of the alcohol - D's abnormality of mind substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts in doing the killing, the jury should find him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
 
R v Gittens [1984] QB is correct. Dietschmann was not ’new law’ but simply explained what the law had always been since the 1957 Act was enacted and since Gittens.

Guilty of manslaughter
Also here

Jaggard v Dickinson [1980] QBD

[Intoxicated mistakes – can be same as sober mistake]
D broke into a house under the drunken mistake that it belonged to a friend.

Held: The Act provided an express defence for anyone who believed the person whom she believed to be the owner would have consented to the damage. Although D's mistake was not a reasonable one, Parliament had provided a defence based on honest belief, and the usual common law rules did not apply.

Not guilty

Kingston, R v (1995) HL

 

Red triangle indicating important information

^[Intoxication - a drugged intent is still an intent]
D indecently assaulted a 15-year-old boy who had been drugged unconscious by P who then invited D to sexually abuse the boy. D claimed that he had no recollection of the assault, as his drink had also "been laced" with drugs by the P, who photographed the indecent act.

Held: Involuntary intoxication is not a defence to a defendant who is proved to have the necessary criminal intent when he committed the offence even if under the influence of drugs administered secretly to the accused by a third party.

There was no defence of exculpatory excuse known to the criminal law since the absence of moral fault on the part of the defendant was not sufficient in itself to negative the necessary mental element of the offence.

The trial judge had correctly directed the jury that if they were sure that despite the effect of any drugs the defendant still intended to commit an indecent assault the case against him was proved.

Lord Mustill said he was not sure if a line could definitively be drawn between offences of "specific" and "basic" intent.

Guilty

Lipman, R v (1970) CA

 

 

[General Defences - Automatism ]
D and his girlfriend V each took a quantity of LSD (a hallucinatory drug). During his "trip", D imagined he was being attacked by snakes at the centre of the earth and had to defend himself; in doing so, he actually killed V by cramming eight inches of sheet down her throat.

Held: He was acquitted of murder because the jury were not sure that he had the necessary intention, being intoxicated, but convicted of manslaughter.

Majewski, DPP v (1977) HL

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

 

Whole case here

[Intoxication as a defence not available to crime of basic intent]
D assaulted 3 people in a fight in pub then one PC who attend the scene then 2 more officers at the police station.

His defence was that he had been drinking and taken drugs and had no intention to commit the acts which he did.

In determining whether a defendant intended certain consequences the court must have regard to all the evidence (Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.8) and must not infer such an intention merely because the consequences were likely.

Held: Intoxication is no defence to crime of basic intent. His conduct in reducing himself to that condition supplies the evidence of mens rea sufficient for crimes of basic intent.

Lord Simon;

“One of the prime purposes of the criminal law…is the protection ... of persons who are pursuing their lawful lives … To [apply Sec 8] would leave the citizen legally unprotected from unprovoked violence where such violence was the consequence of drink or drugs having obliterated the capacity of the perpetrator to know what he was doing or what were its consequences.”

Guilty
Also here

O'Connor, R v [1991] CA

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Intoxication – mistake as to fact of attack – mistake as to amount of force]
In a drunken state, D killed another man in a fight in a pub.

Held : The jury should consider D's specific intent or lack of intent in the light of his intoxication, and had failed to do so.
 

Where a defendant because of self-induced intoxication formed a mistaken belief that he was using force to defend himself a plea of self-defence failed - R v O'Crady (1987);
 

In relation to intent, & foresight a Moloney direction was only necessary in rare cases;

 

Generally the defendant's intention and desire coincided - R v Nedrick (1986);
 

On the question of intent, it was not the capacity to form any intention that was at issue but whether the defendant had the specific intent (to do grievous bodily harm);

 

All the circumstances, including the consumption of drink, should be considered by the jury -R v Garlick (1980).
 

Self-induced drunkenness could have had the effect of preventing the appellant from forming the specific intent.

Guilty manslaughter not murder

O'Grady, R v [1987] CA

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

 

Whole case here

[Intoxicated mistakes – self defence not available if drunken mistake as to attack]
D and his friend M killed M supposedly in self-defence during a fight. They had spent all day drinking, and consumed about eight flagons of cider between them.

D overestimated the threat to himself, and had used excessive force in his own defence.

Convicted by the jury of manslaughter

Held: There were two public interests to be balanced: on the one hand D should be able to do what he honestly believed necessary to protect himself, but on the other the innocent victim should be protected from injury or death by another's drunken mistake.

Reason recoiled from the conclusion that D should be able to walk free after a drunken killing, and logic would extend such a defence (if allowed) even to Lipman. This would clearly be unjust, so it must remain the case that a defendant cannot rely on self-defence where it results from a mistake caused by his own intoxication.

Guilty manslaughter
Also here

Quick, R v (1973) CA

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Automatism - an external factor]
D, a nurse, assaulted a patient. He was a diabetic, had taken insulin and not eaten sufficient food. He drank whisky and rum he could not remember the assault. He pleaded automatism.

Held: D was suffering from automatism, which is a mental abnormality caused by an external factor. He was not suffering from insanity caused by hypoglycaemia (low sugar in the blood) by taking insulin prescribed by his doctor. [Distinguished from hyperglycaemia high blood sugar occurring naturally, which would be insanity]

Lawton LJ:

"a self-induced incapacity will not excuse ... nor will one which could have been reasonably foreseen as a result of either doing or omitting to do something, for example, taking alcohol against medical advice after using certain prescribed drugs or failing to have regular meals while taking insulin."

Not guilty

Richardson & Irwin [1999] CA

 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Assault – mens rea – did D, or would D, if sober, foresee the consequences]
DD two students lifted another over a balcony and dropped him about 12 feet to the ground, causing him serious injuries. During horseplay following an evening's drinking

Held: Clarke LJ said that the question was not what another person would have foreseen but what DD themselves would have foreseen had they been sober.

Not Guilty

Stubbs, R v (1989) CA

[Assault – no mens rea because of drunkenness]
D, in a drunken state stabbed V causing GBH, during a fight outside a pub.
He was charged under s.18, but the prosecution and the Recorder accepted a plea to s.20.

Held: Although the absence of mens rea due to drunkenness would be a defence to a crime of specific intent, that drunkenness would have to be very extreme to justify reducing a s.18 offence to s.20.

Not Guilty

Tandy, R v (1989) CA
 

 

Red triangle indicating important information

[Diminished responsibility - abnormality of the mind impairing mental responsibility - effects of alcoholism - role of jury]
D, an alcoholic, had drunk nearly a bottle of vodka when she strangled her 11 yr old daughter. (She normally drank Vermouth or Barley wine),

Held: For a craving for drink to produce an "abnormality of mind" induced by the disease of alcoholism, there had to be grossly impaired judgement and emotional responses or the craving had to be such as to render the first drink of alcohol of the day involuntary.

But, if the accused had simply not resisted an impulse to drink she could not rely on the defence of diminished responsibility, and if D took the first drink of the day voluntarily, the whole of the drinking on that day was voluntary, and diminished responsibility was not available to her.

Watkins LJ:

"If the alcoholism has reached the level at which her brain had been injured by the repeated insult from intoxicants so that there was gross impairment of her judgment and emotional responses, then the defence of diminished responsibility was available to her ... if her drinking was involuntary, then her abnormality of the mind at the time of the act of strangulation was induced by her condition of alcoholism."

Guilty of murder
Also here

 

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