Brief Fact Summary. A man named Penn wanted to blackmail the defendant, so he invited a young boy over to his house and drugged him. Penn then invited the defendant to his house, drugged him, and took pictures of the defendant sexually abusing the boy. Defendant’s appeal is based on an improper instruction given to the jury.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Involuntary intoxication does not negate the mens rea necessary to commit a crime.
Issue. Is the intent necessary to commit sexual assault negated by involuntary intoxication?
Held. No. Judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed. Lord Mustill delivered the opinion for the House of Lords. Under ordinary circumstances, the respondent’s sexual tendencies may have been kept under control. The ingestion of the drug brought about a temporary change in the mental state of the defendant which lowered his temptation to resist his desires. The drug is said not to have created the desire, but rather to have enabled it to be released. The House of Lords rejects the respondent’s argument which treats the absence of moral fault as sufficient to negate the necessary mental element of the offense. The judgment would imply that this type of defense applies to all offences and is a complete answer to a criminal charge. This defense is also subjective in nature. The only question to be raised by this type of defense is whether a defendant’s inhibitions were overcome by the effect of the drug. The more susceptible the defendant is to the kind of temptation presented, the eas
ier the defense is to establish.
Discussion. A defendant would only have to provide evidence that he was not the type of individual to perform such an act and suggest that he may have been drugged in order to be exculpated.