Automatism

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Automatism

Automatism can be pleaded if it can be proven that the automatic state was caused by an external factor

Definition of Automatism: 'an act which is done by the msucle without any control of the mind such as a spasm, reflex action or a convulsion; an act done by a person who is not concious of what he is doing such as an act done whilst sleepwalking or suferring from concussion' (Bratty v Attorney General for N.I)

The automatic state can be an involuntary action e.g. being attacked by a swarm of bess (Hill v Baxter)

It is the judge that can allow the defence of Automatism to go to the jury but then they may not allow for the defence of automatism depending on the evidence provided in the trial (T)

There can be no plead for automatsim if it is reduced or partial control of the D's actions it has to be a 'total destruction of voluntary control' (Attorney General Reference No2 1992)

if the offence is speific intent then self-induced automatism is allowed to be considered (Bailey)

When the D takes a legal drug in a legal manner and does not know it will lead to an automatic state he has the full defence of automatism (Hardie)

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