In 1977 as per the decision in DPP v Majewski (1977) it was decided that intoxication is not a defense when the crime that is committed is a basic intent crime. A basic intent crime is a crime where the mens rea is usually recklessness or negligence or where the defendant has not given any thought to the consequences of his actions or having given it some thought has dismissed it.
In DPP v Majewski (1977) the defendant was involved in a brawl in a pub during the course of which, he assaulted two customers, the publican, the arresting police officer and two more police officers at the station, including an inspector in his cell. The defendant argued that at the time he was severely intoxicated having been drinking and taking drugs and therefore he lacked the intention to commit the offences or did not intent to commit the offences i.e. he did not have the mens rea that was required for a conviction.
In determining whether the defendant is guilty or otherwise, the court does not merely look into whether the defendant intended to commit the crime or otherwise but it also looks at the facts in light of s.8 of the Criminal Justice Act (1967) and takes into account all the evidence that is available.
It was held that intoxication is not a defense when it comes to basic intent crimes and the defendant’s conduct is sufficient to infer the mens rea required for a conviction i.e. despite the fact that the defendant lacked the intention, mens rea can be inferred from conduct. The defendant was adjudged to be guilty.
Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward