AUTOMATISM

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AUTOMATISM- THE 2 TYPES

Automatism can come under 2 sections:

  • INSANE AUTOMATISM
  • NON INSANE AUTOMATISM.

Insane automatism will give the defendant, if not prove guilty, the verdict of NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY. This is caused by an INTERNAL FACTOR.

Non insane automatism has to be caused by an EXTERNAL FACTOR. This can be caused by:

  • Sneezing
  • Hypnotism
  • A spasm
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NON INSANE AUTOMATISM

Non insane automatism is when an act is done by "a person who does not know what he is doing" and has "no control over what he is doing"- BRATTY v AG for NI

Hill v Baxter is a typical case of automatism as D had no control over what he was doing whilst being attacked by bees whilst driving.

It was said that an exceptional amount of stress can lead to an automatic state- R v T

 

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SELF INDUCED AUTOMATISM

This is a type of automatism where the defendant brings the state of automatism upon himself.

The defence cannot be used if:

  • It was caused by illegal drinks or drugs- DDP v MAJWESKI
  • D was reckless in getting into that state, so he knowingly takes something like a drug and knows that the likely effects are that he will get into a state of automatism.
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MORE ON AUTOMATISM

In order for automatism to be claimed, SPECIFIC OR BASIC INTENT NEEDS TO BE DISTINGUISHED.

The defence is always available for specific intent crimes as it is not fair to convict someone of a crime they did not have the mens rea for. The sentence will be one lesser.

  • So murder ---> manslaughter
  • s18 ----> s20

For a basic intent crime the sentence will stay the same and these are most likely to be when he defendant has brought the automatism onto himself so this will go under self induced automatism.

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