With regards to the defense of automatism, in instances of hypoglycemia, it is worth asking the question if the defense should still be allowed, given the fact that medical science has come forward in leaps and bounds and almost everyone on insulin or other types of medication to reduce sugar levels in the body is warned beforehand of what could happen if they take these medications without eating.
A defendant on insulin could always knowingly commit a crime and then seek to rely on the defense of automatism but we have to look at it in light of Sir William Blackstone’s principle i.e. “it is better to let ten guilty persons escape than to let one innocent man suffer”.
It is up to the prosecution on a criminal charge to proof beyond reasonable doubt (burden of proof) that the defendant did indeed commit the crime and all the defense has to do, is to raise reasonable doubt.
Because the courts cannot risk wrongfully convicting someone, the defense of automatism is allowed. To do otherwise might lead to a grave injustice.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward