The Sixth Amendment of the U. While the goal of a trial is to seek the truth, the process of determining guilt or innocence is predicated on issues of constitutionality, legal procedures, court rules, and the interpretation of law. Given these predicates, important distinctions are made between legal guilt and factual guilt that can give rise to a host of ethical issues regarding fairness, justice, and due process of law. While the criminal act actus reus is an essential component to a crime, the importance of determining criminal intent mens rea is predicated on the principle of legal guilt.
It seems strange then that intoxication for the most serious of offences, murder, becomes a defence. The reason for this is that it has been accepted that people can become so intoxicated as to not be able to form the mens rea, or specific intent, to kill.
It is difficult, though, to imagine a scenario when a defendant is so intoxicated as to not be able to form an intent to kill someone but is sober enough to be able to physically kill them.
Theft is seen as a crime of specific intent, but there is no basic intent alternative to this crime — does intoxication then provide a full defence? No, but the law needs clarification on this. There is also an issue raised by the case of R v Kingston, where it was held that a drunken intent is sufficient for the mens rea of the crime, even when the D has become involuntarily intoxicated by having his drink spiked.
It is questionable that this represents justice if the D can prove Criminal law intoxication essay would not have acted this way had he not had his drink spiked by a 3rd party.
The Law Commission has made 3 proposals for reform.
For crimes that include recklessness D should be treated as being aware of anything that would have been aware of but for the intoxication. This could work as it effectively removes the issue of intoxication from the case entirely. For specific intent a drunken specific intent is enough.
This sounds just in cases where the D has become voluntarily intoxicated but still leaves contentious decisions where the intoxication is involuntary.
Mistaken belief is only acceptable if D would have made the same mistake sober. Once again this could provide satisfactory outcomes as it also effectively removes intoxication from the case. The greatest issue with the defence of self defence is the objective test — did the D use reasonable force?
The recent case of Munir Hussein illustrates this. He and his family were tied up by armed burglars and he managed to escape and catch one of his attackers.
This resulted in him being convicted of s18 GBH. It can be persuasively argued that he did not bring any of it onto himself, it was his attackers that did this. He has since been released but his brother has not, which also highlights the unsatisfactory state of this defence.
Self defence can also be used in the prevention of a crime — effectively meaning that force can be used to defend property. If someone were to defend their property and it resulted in a fatality and successful plea of self defence does that mean our justice system places more value on property than human life?
Pre-emptive strikes could also result in unsatisfactory cases as how can it be determined for certain that the V would have attacked? The need for reform of Self defence is such that David Cameron at the Conservative conference came out and said the law needed changing and that he wanted to see the reasonable force element of the defence changed to disproportionate force, effectively relaxing the objective test.
This, however, could mean that we see more fatalities from people defending property. It is questionable whether this is justice better achieved. The defence is also an all or nothing defence and this also needs to change.
An additional, partial defence of unreasonable force self defence would provide protection for Ds that have clearly been threatened but have gone too far. The defence of insanity is outdated and has not kept up with modern psychiatry.Introduction to Criminal Law in Zambia: Learners Module Uploaded by CHITENGI SIPHO JUSTINE, PhD Candidate- Law & Policy This module aims at laying a foundation for new learners who are being introduced to the study of key concepts in criminal law for better understanding of .
Issue 1 The first criticism with the law on intoxication is that in regard to basic intent crimes and voluntary intoxication, it fails to acknowledge the concept of “prior fault ” (as described in Smith & Hogan) which undermines the supposed subjective nature of recklessness.
More than any other area of criminal law, intoxication demonstrates the clash between principle and policy.
It is a fundamental principle of criminal law that liability should follow fault and that a person is only at fault if their behaviour is voluntary (actus reus) and the product of rational thought (mens rea).Strict adherence to this principle would acquit defendants who committed crimes.
Dec 15, · Tags: Criminal law evaluation, general defences, insanity, intoxication, self defence 0 Being intoxicated is not socially acceptable, and in the vast majority of criminal cases being intoxicated will be seen as an aggravating factor.
Law Business Social Issues Criminal law Crimes English criminal law Sports Forensic psychology Elements of crime Mens rea Element Attempt Actus reus Theft Larceny This is an Essay / Project Essays / Projects are typically greater than 5 pages in length and are assessments that have been previously submitted by a student for academic grading.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Perspective on Voluntary Intoxication, Drinking and Assaults. As with every assault, whether it is a serious felony charge or a a lower level misdemeanor, there needs to be the intent to assault someone, and this is where the defense of voluntary intoxication comes into play.