• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Intoxication – The Legal Viewpoint.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Intoxication - The Legal Viewpoint. Intoxication by drink or by drugs - the criminal law makes no distinction - is no defence in itself, but has frequently to be considered either as leading to a lack of mens rea or as the cause of a mistake that may offer a defence. The law is unsympathetic towards those who injure others or their property while under the influence of drink or drugs taken voluntarily, and rightly so considering the very large number of crimes that are alcohol- or drug-related. A number of studies have shown that between half and two-thirds of the perpetrators of homicide, assault and r**e had been drinking (and that a large proportion of these were seriously intoxicated) at or just before the time of the offence. Alcohol is associated with up to 70 per cent of homicides and serious assaults, and with 50 per cent of fights or assaults in the home. Specific intent Where an offence is one of specific intent, and D did not have that intent (whether because of intoxication or for any other reason), he is entitled to be acquitted. ...read more.

Middle

Offences of basic intent include manslaughter, r**e, malicious wounding and assault. R v Lipman [1969] 3 All ER 410, CA D and his girlfriend V each took a quantity of LSD (a hallucinatory drug). During his "trip", D imagined he was being attacked by snakes at the centre of the earth and had to defend himself; in doing so, he actually killed V by cramming eight inches of sheet down her throat. He was charged with murder and convicted of manslaughter. Upholding the conviction, the Court of Appeal said that since no specific intent is required for manslaughter, self-induced intoxication (whether by drink or drugs) affords no defence. DPP v Majewski [1976] 2 All ER 142, HL D took a mixture of drugs and alcohol and subsequently assaulted the landlord in a pub brawl. His conviction was upheld: D's intoxication was the result of his own voluntary reckless act, said the House of Lords, and the trial judge had rightly directed the jury that they were to ignore it in considering whether he had formed the necessary mens rea in a crime of basic intent. Lord Elwyn-Jones LC said that if a man of his own volition takes a substance which causes him to cast off ...read more.

Conclusion

His defence was automatism caused by hypoglycaemia, brought on by failing to take sufficient food after taking his prescribed insulin. The trial judge directed the jury that self-induced automatism could not be a defence, and the jury convicted on both counts. The Court of Appeal upheld the conviction on the facts of the case, but said Lawton LJ's dictum was perhaps too broad. If a defendant does appreciate the risks associated with a failure to take food after insulin, the jury may decide that his disregard of such a risk is reckless, but it depends on the circumstances. R v Allen [1988] Crim LR 698, CA D was charged with buggery and indecent assault (these being crimes of basic intent), but claimed he was so drunk he had not known what he was doing. He had drunk a certain amount of wine without realising how strong it was, and his intoxication should therefore be regarded as involuntary. Upholding his conviction, the Court of Appeal said that where a defendant knows he is taking alcohol, the drinking does not become involuntary just because he does not know its exact nature or strength. A drugged intent, even if the intoxication is involuntary, is still an intent. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Law of Tort section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Law of Tort essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Taking selected areas of the civil and or criminal law, evaluate whether sportsmen and ...

    4 star(s)

    liability in negligence of professional footballers who injure another player for example through a negligent tackle. It explains the requirements for bringing a successful claim in negligence. However, even in amateur football games a claimant has been awarded damages in negligence.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Critically evaluate the principles governing the law on Intoxication.

    3 star(s)

    Ireland v Gallagher (1963), the defendant decided to kill his wife. He bought a knife and a bottle of whisky which he drank to give himself 'Dutch Courage'. After becoming drunk he killed his wife with the knife. He claimed that he was too drunk to know what he was

  1. What is the meaning of intention in English criminal law? Is it always possible ...

    Cunningham (1957) 2 Q.B. 396, The defendant was charged under s.23 Offences Against the Person Act 1861, the trial judge directed the jury that malice was the equivalent to wicked and the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction. Maliciously means intentionally or recklessly and the latter word required proof

  2. Three liability cases - Claim 1-- Auto Emergency Breakdown Service Claim 2- Santa ...

    The defendant who knowingly (subjective) exposes the plaintiff/claimant to a substantial risk of loss, breaches that duty. The defendant who fails to realize the substantial risk of loss to the plaintiff/claimant, which any reasonable person [objective] in the same situation would clearly have realized, also breaches that duty.

  1. Jenny had an argument with her boyfriend, David, which resulted in David throwing Jenny ...

    The prosecution will also have to consider whether there is sufficient evidence of mens rea. Did David intend to push Jenny to cause some harm or was he reckless at to the causing of some harm? If the prosecution consider that they have enough evidence to show that David intended

  2. Q, believe that the pistol which he was about to clean was loaded, pointed ...

    irrelevant as it has been established in R v Ball [1989] that the 'dangerousness' of the unlawful act must be judged objectively. * It is emphasised that if the reasonable person would foresee that pointing a gun, which one believed was unloaded, at someone and pulling the trigger would expose that other to danger.

  1. Involuntary Manslaughter

    The defendant was convicted of manslaughter. The act need not even be directed at a person, it can be aimed at property, provided it is dangerous in the sense that it is likely to cause harm to another, as shown in Goodfellow.

  2. In this report, the differences between contractual liability and tortuous liability are explained. In ...

    In this case, concerning in detail the action of Titus, his action is held liable by his employer and the damages he caused to Maria?s premise is obvious. He knocked over the opened oil can causing high intensive of the fire and more serious damage.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work