A more recent version of these Intoxication notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.
The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Criminal Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:
Intoxicated defendants cause difficulties for the criminal law. Sometimes intoxication is included as a capacity defence, but intoxication really is not a defence at all: o This issue is one of intent. The general maxim is that drunken intent is still intent, even if D would not have intended such an act/consequence if he were sober. HOWEVER, intoxication may begin to resemble a defence where D claims that he was so drunk so at to have been unable to form intent. o Drunken MR is still MR. If there is no MR at all, there can be no crime. o LEADING CASE: Kingston: D was a paedophile who always resisted his urges. He was drugged and led to a bedroom where a young boy who had also been drugged was. He sexually assaulted the boy and the incident was filmed. Despite being involuntarily intoxicated, he was still found guilty, because he possessed the guilty mind of a child molester - the fact he was disinhibited did not make him less culpable. Lord Marshall gave his ruling 'regretfully' but he said it was not the place of the court to implement such a regime.
For purposes of intoxication liability, crimes are split into crimes of basic intent and crimes of specific intent. The leading case on this: o DPP v Majewski - D assaulted various people while voluntarily intoxicated. He pled intoxication as a defence. It was found that he could not rely on the defence because assault was a crime of basic intent. It established the Majewski rule - where a crime is one of basic intent, being voluntarily intoxicated will be taken as proof of MR/intent. The distinction:
If a crime is one of specific intent, it's MR extends beyond its AR. For most offences, MR is intention or recklessness as to the AR.
The distinction is very difficult to draw - as a general rule, crimes of specific intent cannot be committed recklessly, because they require a mental element as to circumstance or consequence that extends beyond the mere conduct element.
You really just need to learn the list (non-exhaustive): o Specific: murder, wounding, GBH with intent, theft, burglary, handling stolen goods. o Basic: most other offence (notably, includes rape).
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