When applying the issue of intoxication, the argument then becomes one of voluntariness. Voluntariness is a basic requirement in proving criminal responsibility under common law and under the Criminal Code 1899 Act (Qld). In the High Court matter of Ryan v R (1967), Barwick CJ stated where voluntariness is not conceded and the evidence provides a substantial basis for doubting voluntariness, the jury’s attention must be specifically drawn to the necessity of finding voluntariness beyond a reasonable doubt (at 217). If the act is found to have been committed involuntarily, and there is no question of insanity, then the accused is entitled to a complete acquittal.
Intoxication in Queensland
In R v Kusu (1980), the Queensland Court of Criminal Appeal held that, where a charge does not involve specific intent based on sections 23 or 28 of the Criminal Code 1899 Act (Qld), self-induced intoxication does not give rise to a defence.
Does Intoxication Apply to Violent Crimes?
There is an argument that intoxication could negate voluntariness. Therefore, if you were to self-induce intoxication, leading to automatism, it would not be a defence against assault or manslaughter as recognised in the matter of Quick (1973) at 735.
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