My topic of choice was the question regarding John taking drugs or alcohol to the point that he is so impaired that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, should he be able to successfully argue that he did not have the necessary mens rea at the time of the offence.
Mens rea is a Latin term that means a guilty mind. It is not sufficient for someone to merely commit a prohibited act, but at the same time that the accused is committing the wrongful action, he must have the necessary intent to accompany the action. The Crown must show that the accused had a willing mind and was capable of making a choice to act.
If John were driving impaired and caused death, the mens rea for driving while impaired is intent to drive a motor vehicle after the voluntary consumption of alcohol or a drug. The actus reus is the driving where the voluntary consumption of alcohol or drug has impaired the ability to drive which then causes the offence to take place. The accused deliberately takes an unjustifiable risk, knowing that certain wrongful consequences can flow from his recklessness. Also, demonstrates wilful blindness by closing one’s mind to the consequences of one’s actions.
However, there could be the possibility of involuntary intoxication. If a person had an unexpected reaction to medicine or unknowingly consumed intoxicants, the accused is said to have been involuntarily intoxicated; the accused could provide intoxication evidence to demonstrate that he lacked the fault for a crime and so could not be liable.
The fact that the consumption of alcohol or the ingestion of drugs may cause a loss of control is well known. Anyone who knowingly consumes alcohol or drugs is reckless as to the possibility of losing control. If they did not wish to lose control, they would not consume, so the loss of control must be within the scope of their intention by continuing to consume, loss of control is not instantaneous and without symptoms.
Involuntary loss of control is limited to...