Unit 3 Defences: Automatism (Self-Induced Automatism (Basic intent…
Unit 3 Defences: Automatism
A complete defence, leading to an acquittal. A general defence.
An Act done by the muscles without any control by the mind (
Bratty v A-G for N Ireland
Actus reus must be done by a physically involuntary act.
D must also not have the mens rea for the offence. due to an external causes such as ..
Hill v Baxter
: a person should not be liable who through no fault of his own become unconscious when driving if ...
Overcome by a sudden illness
Lost temporary control due to an attack of a swarm of bees
Struck by a stone
: Hypoglycaemia can gain this defence. The low blood sugar levels were caused by an external factor.
A-G Ref ( No.2) 1993
: Lorry driver hit broken down car after stating he was put in a dream like state from driving for too long. held that there must be total destruction of voluntary control. Partial not sufficient.
Burden of proof
: D must raise the defence and then prosecution must the disprove it.
Specific Intent offences
: can be a defence as D lacks the required MR
: is the case authority for specific offences
Basic intent offences
: D cannot use the defence if he had brought about the automatic state by being reckless
Becoming voluntarily intoxicated is reckless (
R v Majewski)
Where D does not know his actions are likely to lead to an automatic self-induced state in which he may commit a crime, he has not been reckless and can use the defence
: D and his girlfriend took LSD. D thought he was being attacked by snakes. next day his girlfriend was found dead with sheets crammed in to her mouth. Automatic state was self induced so offence not available.
: D's girlfriend gave him Valium telling him it would calm him down. he set fire to the wardrobe. he had not been reckless as he only thought the drug would calm him down.
D tried to argue he had drunk him self in to an automatic state. he argued that taking medication at the same time caused the state. however he knew the effects of taking both so could not gain the defence