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Intoxication Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Criminal Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Intoxication notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

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Revision: Criminal



Two different forms: 1) A way to negate the MR of an offence; or 2) An influencing factor on another legal principle/defence

Intoxication negating MR


Woolmington: Prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that D had committed AR with the necessary MR -so if due to intoxication the D did not have the necessary MR then they will be entitled to full acquittal


R v Bennett: judge must direct jury on intoxication whenever there is evidence such that a reasonable jury might conclude that there is a reasonable possibility that the D did not form necessary MR


R v Pordage: not whether the D was incapable of forming the MR c.f. R v Beard), but whether, even if still capable, he or she did form it


Intoxication will not assist D if it can be proved that the MR was formed despite intoxication o

R v Kingston: K admitted to paedophiliac homosexual tendencies which he managed to control - P set him up, intoxicated him and invited him to sexually abuse a boy: still guilty as despite the intoxication he formed the necessary MR: drunken intent is still an intent

When can intoxication operate to negate the MR?

1. In any crime where the intoxication is caused by drink or drugs taken involuntarily, i.e. 'spiking'

2. In any crime where the intoxication is caused by drugs taken voluntarily, but in bona fide pursuance of medical treatment

3. In any crime where the intoxication is caused by non-dangerous drugs taken voluntarily

4. In crimes where a specific intent is required


Evidential burden on the D to raise issue of intoxication: then the prosecution needs to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the D formed the necessary MR


1. Is the D voluntarily intoxicated or involuntarily intoxicated?


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