intoxication

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Alcohol intoxication Pages: 8 (2746 words) Published: November 22, 2013
introduction
section 13 (1) of the penal code, cap 87 of te laws of zambia states that intoxication shall not constitute defence to any criminal charge. 13(4) intoxication shall not be taken into account the purpose of determining whether the person charged had formed any intention specific or otherwise in the absence of which would not be guilty of the ofence

Intoxication is not a defense to a crime as such. But where a person thru drink and drugs and commits a crime, the levels of intoxication maybe such to prevent the defender from forming a mens rea of a crime. Public policy plays a strong factor in ascertaining weather the defendants intoxication is maybe used by the defendant to negate the mens rea of a crime. It is obviously not in the public interest for criminals to escape liability simply by ascertaining that they were drunk they did not know what they were doing, this would be seen as aggravating factor rather than a mitigation factor particularly were the defendant himself in that position. The law has formulated various rules of uncertain ambit in seeking to strike the balance between on the one hand imposing criminal liability on a party who did not have the mental capacity/element of the crime and the other protecting the public from persons who deliberately put themselves in a position where they are unable to control their actions. For this reason the law draws or distinction between voluntary intoxication and involuntary intoxication, the law generally is more accommodating to those who have not voluntarily put themselves into an intoxication state. A distinction has to be drawn between being drunken and being intoxicated.a drunken man may commit acts whilst under the influence of the drink or drugs that he would never commit whilst sober. But he will to raise the defense of intoxication if he is nevertheless still capable of forming the necessary mens rea for the crime; this was stressed in R v Sheehan and Moore 19751 that a drunken intent is nevertheless still intent. TYPES OF INTOXICATION

Involuntary intoxication
The most common cases of involuntary intoxication involve intoxication that is unknowingly induced by a third party. Intoxication can also be held as involuntary if it is caused by prescribed drugs taken within the required instructions of a doctor, or if caused by a drug, whether or not taken in excessive quantity, that is not normally liable to cause unpredictability or aggressiveness. Where a defendant is reduced to a state of intoxication through no fault of his own, he cannot be ‘blamed’ for his actions and will, accordingly, have a defence to any criminal charge. The defendant must, however, be so intoxicated that he did not form the requisite mens rea. If the mens rea is thought to be present, then the law approaches such cases in the same way as for voluntary intoxication, in that involuntary intoxication is not, in itself, a defence.,like in the case R v Sheehan (1975) 1 WLR 739

r v hardie 1985 1 WLR 64

Dutch courage intoxication
On occasion, individuals use alcohol or drugs to make it easier for them to take certain actions, including criminal ones. The law has ruled that with such offences one is liable, even if, because intoxicated, one lacks the appropriate mental element at the time of the offence like in the case of AG for Northern Ireland v Gallagher 19632 ‘… if a man, whilst sane and sober, forms an intention to kill and makes preparations for it, knowing it is the wrong thing to do, and then gets himself drunk so as to give himself Dutch courage to do the thing, and whilst drunk carries out his intention, he cannot rely on this self-induced drunkenness as a defence to a charge of murder, nor even as reducing it to manslaughter. He cannot say that he got himself into such a stupid state that he was incapable of an intent to kill. So, also, when he is insane, he cannot by drinking rely on his self-induced defect of reason as a defence of insanity. The...
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