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Automatism
"No act is punishable if it is done involuntarily: and an involuntary act in this context ­ some people nowadays
prefer to speak of it as `automatism' ­ means an act which is done by the muscles without any control by the mind,
such as a spasm, a reflex…

Page 2

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Quick (1973)
D, a nurse, assaulted a patient. He was a diabetic, had taken insulin and not eaten sufficient food. He
drank whisky and run and claimed the he could not remember the assault.
The drug was an external cause

Automatism caused by external pressures such as sleep walking does…

Page 3

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· Where the defendant does not know that his actions are likely to lead to a self-induced automotive state in
which he may commit an offence, he has not been reckless and can use the defence of automatism.

Hardie (1984)
D took a Vallium tablet to calm himself when the…

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