Intoxication with other defences

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Intoxication and Insanity

  • Where intoxication produces insanity within the meaning of the M’Naghten rules – the rules of insanity apply:
  • Davis 1881 – D claimed that a history of drinking had led to a condition called delirium tremens and based his defence on insanity : per Stephen J “ Drunkeness is one thing – and disease to which drunkenness leads are two different things; and if a man by drunkenness brings on a state of disease which causes such a degree of madness, even for a time, which would have relieved him from responsibility if it had been caused in any other way, then he would nor be criminally repsonsible”.
  • This has been approved in both BEARD and GALLAGHER by the House of Lords
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Intoxication and Insanity

  • A state of intoxication which does not lead to a disease of the mind remains subject to the rules on intoxication,  no mater how extreme the temporary effects of the intoxicants on D may have been.
  • Bouchard-Lebrun 2011 Supreme Court of Canada: D suffered from toxic psychosis induced by taking ecstasy tablet. Court had to consider whether this could support a plea of insanity. D had been convicted of 2 counts of aggravated assault (= to s.20 gbh) his defence of voluntary intoxication failed.
  • He then appealed stating that he should have been allowed insanity instead. Supreme Court of Canada rejected this.
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Intoxication and Automatism

  • If an act is done in a self induced state of sane automatism, then this does not provide a defence under the rules of automatism Therefore if a D becomes so intoxicated so as to become an automaton, he cannot rely on the defence of automatism and the rules of Majewski apply.
  • Lipman (1970) – D killed his girlfriend in his sleep whilst in the middle of as LSD induced trip. He thought he was being attacked by snakes. Convicted of manslaughter even though at the time he was an automaton. Conviction confirmed by the Court of Appeal.
  • Sullivan 1984 – Lord Diplock: defence of automatism does not apply when “self induced by consuming drink or drugs”
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