Self Defence and Intoxication

Information on Self defence and intoxication

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Self Defence Part 1

  • Publice self defence- Section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 and is defined as resonable force to prevent crime e.g. Citizens Arrest
  • Private self defence is a common law- allows the defendant to use reasonable force to;
    • defend themsleves from an attack
    • prevent an attack on another person
    • defend your property
  • Use the defence in relation to all crimes- but with murder the defendants life must be at risk
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Self defence- Part 2

  • Courts will take into accout;
    • Whether the accused could have retreated from the situation
    • Whether the test was imminent.
    • Whether the defendant made a mistake which made him think the action was justified
  • Resonable force is considered by the jury based on the circumstances
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Self Defence part 3

  • Self defence is a good defence provided the misake is honest- R v Williams
  • Pre-emptive slef defence is allowed as long as the defendant act pre-emptivels to prevent and attack- AG's ref
  • Excessive force means that the defence cannot be used becuase it indicates that the defendant actd unresonably- R v Clegg- Soldier, was excessive force- R v Martin- Psychiatric condition
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Intoxication- part 1

  • Includes alcohol, drugs or other substances e.g. glue sniffing
  • It isn't a defence depending on the mens rea;
    • If there isn't a mens rea then the defendant will be found not guilty because of his intoxicated state
    • intoxication cannot be used with basic intent crimes only specific- R v Majewski because courts view voluntary intoxication as reckless therefore has the mens rea
  • There are two types; voluntary and involuntary
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Voluntary Intoxication

  • Where the defendant has chosen to take an intoxicating substance- alcohol, drugs etc.
  • It can also occur where the defendant knows the effect of a prescribed drugs but takes it anyway.
  • people who take drugs and alcohol should generally realise the possible consequences in forms of violent behaviour and uncontrollable actions
  • R v Richarson and Irwin- acted the same way when sober couldn't use the defence.
  • Dutch Courage- getting drunk for courage to commit a crime- AG for Northern Ireland v Gallagher
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Involuntary Intoxication

  • Can be used with all offences
  • The main situation where the defendants intoxication can be involuntary are;
    • soporific, duress, spiked, prescribed drugs that have an adverse effect
  • R v Kingston- Paedophile- had mens rea- couldn't use defence
  • R v Hardie- Valium- adverse effect- allowed defence as her lacked mens rea
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