2.4) Murder, voluntary manslaughter and intoxication

What two different forms of intoxication will you come across in this element?
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- "It does not mean that the defendant who has been drinking is deprived of any possible loss of control defence: it simply means, as the judge explained, that the loss of control defence must be approached without reference to the defendant's voluntary intoxication
- If a sober individual in the defendant's circumstances, with normal levels of tolerance and self-restraint, might have behaved in the same way as the defendant confronted by the relevant qualifying trigger, he would not be deprived of the loss of control defence just because he was not sober
- And different considerations would arise if a defendant with a severe problem with alcohol or drugs was mercilessly taunted about the condition, to the extent that it constituted a qualifying trigger, the alcohol or drug problem would then form part of the circumstances for consideration."
(a) Defendant is not precluded from using the defence just because he is drunk;
(b) His intoxication will be ignored in accordance with the CJA 2009, s 54(3) (as a circumstance whose only relevance to D's conduct is that it bears on D's general capacity for tolerance or self-restraint), if it has no connection to the things said or done which make up the qualifying trigger; and
(c) If there is a connection between the things said or done which make up the qualifying trigger e.g. when the defendant is taunted about his intoxication, then the jury can take that intoxication into account in assessing the gravity of the qualifying trigger.
What is an issue with which the courts have long struggled?The impact of intoxication on the defence of diminished responsibility.What two approaches have the courts taken?Depending on whether the intoxication is: - independent of the abnormality - the defendant has an abnormality of mental functioning and is voluntarily intoxicated; or - as a result of alcohol dependency syndrome ('ADS').a) Intoxication independent of the abnormality.A defendant might, at the time of the killing, suffer from both an abnormality of mental functioning and from the effect of alcohol taken before the killing.What was suggested in R v Dietschmann?That it would be an impossible task for the jury simply to ignore the effect of the alcohol and decide whether the defendant, sober, would still have killed as a result of the abnormality.Instead, what must the jury first consider?The effect of the matters other than the alcohol and determine whether they amounted to such abnormality of mental functioning as might have substantially impaired the defendant's ability to do one of the things in the HA 1957, s 2(1A).What should the jury then consider?"If the defendant was intoxicated at the time of the killing, the jury should then ask themselves: has the defendant satisfied you that, despite the drink, 1) he was suffering from mental abnormality; and 2) his mental abnormality substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his fatal acts?"Note that, in these circumstances, the jury may still find that the defence operates, even if what?They consider that the alcohol may have played a part in the defendant's inability to do one of the factors in the HA 1957, s 2(1A).What was said in R v Kay?The Court of Appeal, in considering the amended defence of diminished responsibility, said that it was bound by the case of R v Dietschmann, so it is clear that this case remains the authority to be applied.What did Hughes LJ say in R v Dowds?- 'It is enough to say that it is quite clear that the reformulation of the statutory conditions for diminished responsibility was not intended to reverse the well-established rule that voluntary acute intoxication is not capable of being relied upon to found diminished responsibility - That remains the law. The presence of a "recognised medical condition" is a necessary, but not always a sufficient, condition to raise the issue of diminished responsibility.'b) Alcohol dependency syndrome.- We will consider a series of cases which make up the courts approach to D's seeking to rely on diminished responsibility with alcohol dependency syndrome (ADS): o R v Wood; o R v Stewart; and o R v Kay.What did the courts acknowledge in R v Wood?The Court of Appeal acknowledged that it was somewhat artificial to draw a distinction where that defendant has ADS between purely involuntary drinking and drinking where the defendant has some ability to stop.Instead, what must the jury decide?Whether the ADS was a significant factor in leading the defendant to consume the alcohol, even if there was an element of voluntary choice either to start drinking or not to stop at some point.If they decide that it was a significant factor, what can they conclude?That the defendant's responsibility was impaired as a result of the abnormality of mental functioning.What did the courts point out in R v Stewart? (1)- First, they pointed out that the jury must be satisfied that there was an abnormality of mind (which would now be an abnormality of mental functioning) - Evidence of ADS may well assist the jury here - However, it would, depending on the evidence, be open to them to conclude that, notwithstanding the existence of the condition, at the time of the killing, the defendant was not suffering from an abnormality of mental functioningWhat did the courts point out in R v Stewart? (2)- Second, if the jury are satisfied that the defendant was suffering from an abnormality, they then need to be satisfied that this arises from a recognised medical condition - If there is clear evidence of ADS, then this requirement is likely to be satisfied - Any attempt to rely on voluntary and temporary drunkenness, even when based on habitual heavy binge drinking, will not be sufficientWhat did the courts point out in R v Stewart? (3)Third, under the old law, the Court of Appeal directed that the jury must consider whether the ADS substantially impaired the defendant's mental responsibility. The Court of Appeal suggested a number of factors that may assist the jury in deciding this.What were these factors?a) the extent and seriousness of the defendant's dependency; b) the extent to which his ability to control his drinking was reduced; c) whether he was capable of abstinence and if so; d) for how long; and e) whether he was choosing for some particular reason (such as a birthday) to decide to get drunk or to drink more than usual.The approach was approved for the amended law by the Court of Appeal in R v Kay. What did Hallett LJ say?'[W]e see no reason to depart from the approach in R v Stewart. Coupled with the provisions of section 2(1) of the Homicide Act 1957 (as substituted), it provides a clear and sensible approach for directing the jury. The approach is neither binary nor simplistic but is flexible enough to encompass a wide variety of factual circumstances in a manner that is fair to all.'It is suggested that the same considerations will be made when determining what?Whether the D is able to do one of the things: HA 1957, S 2(1A).