Crime CXXXX– Intoxication XI

As far as intent in criminal law is concerned, it does not matter if the defendant committed the act when he was drunk and as long as the prosecution can prove that the intent was always there, the defendant can be found guilty.

Intent remains intent and if the prosecution can establish that the intention was there when the defendant was sober than the jury can convict. The fact that drugs or alcohol take away the defendant’s inhibitions does not negate or diminish intent and in some instances it does not even mitigate the crime or the offence for the reason that the intent was always there and the excessive drinking or the drugs merely made it easier for the defendant to carry out his or her intentions.

In R v Kingston (1995), the defendant was a homosexual with pedophiliac predilections and was drugged by a friend, who was employed by another party to gain some leverage that they could use to settle a business dispute with the defendant. While he was intoxicated he was encouraged to perform sexual acts with a 15 year old boy who was drugged by a soporific drink. The boy remembered nothing but the friend had photographed everything that had transpired.

The defendant was charged and a jury convicted the defendant. The defendant appealed on the grounds that he was drugged and therefore he could not form the intention to commit the offence and the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction.

The prosecution appealed and the House of Lords upheld the conviction on the basis that despite the fact that the defendant was drugged, the intention to commit the offence was always there and the trial judge’s direction to the jury had been correct in that, if the jury find that the intention was always there, then regardless of the fact that the defendant was drugged or intoxicated, the jury must convict.

Copyright © 2018 by Dyarne Ward

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