Intoxication: Not a Defence for Crime
There has been too many times where intoxication was used as a defence in criminal cases where it should not have been considered as a defence. Intoxication in criminal cases and whether it should be considered or not considered as a defence is very controversial. Voluntary intoxication should not be considered as a defence of crime. The main arguments against using intoxication as a defence are: the degree of proof required to prove intoxication is not sufficient, it is unfair to the victim if the accused gets away with a lighter sentence or no sentence at all because of the defence of intoxication, and last, in the case of voluntary intoxication, the mens rea should be considered satisfied toward general intent crimes. Analyzing these arguments proves that voluntary intoxication should not be used as a defence for criminal cases.
The degree of proof required to prove intoxication is not rigorous enough. The degree of proof required to prove intoxication is balance of probabilities. When dealing with a serious charge, such as murder or sexual assault, the degree of proof for intoxication should be beyond a reasonable doubt, just like the prosecution is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the accused. There can be cases where intoxication might have occurred post offence and used as a defence to avoid penalties or punishment. For example, Mr. X bought a bottle of alcohol at 5 PM and went home. He killed his wife with a knife at 7 PM. After killing his wife, he started drinking and became extremely intoxicated. At 9 PM, his son came home and found his mother (wife of Mr. X) dead and his father (Mr. X) unconscious with a bloody knife close to him. The son called the police and the father was arrested with police charging the father with murder. The accused, Mr. X, went on to claim intoxication as a part of his defence. The charge was reduced to manslaughter. This example shows that the degree of...
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