Crime CXXXVIII– Intoxication IX

With regards to spiking or lacing another person’s drink, in order to secure a conviction, the prosecution will need to establish intention (mens rea) and nothing less will suffice i.e. it is a specific intent crime (strict liability offence) as opposed to a basic intent crime where the mens rea required to secure a conviction is either negligence or recklessness.

In Blakely and Sutton v DPP (1991) the victim was having an affair with the principle defendant and after having a couple of drinks with her he decided to go home to his wife. In order to stop the defendant from going home, the principle defendant and her friend, spiked the victim’s drink (tonic water) with alcohol but before either of them could stop him, the victim got into his car and drove off. He was subsequently stopped by the police and failed a breathalyzer test. However, he was absolved of all charges when it was discovered that his drink was spiked, and the defendants were charged instead and were convicted by a magistrate for procuring the offence on the basis that they were reckless (Caldwell recklessness) in their actions. The defendants appealed.

The conviction was quashed, and it was decided that spiking someone’s drink is a specific intent crime and the prosecution must prove intention, and recklessness (Caldwell recklessness) would not suffice.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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