Extreme intoxication is now a defence - Supreme Court of Canada

Started by Barrister, May 13, 2022, 12:31:34 PM

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Admiral Yi

Quote from: Barrister on May 13, 2022, 03:30:09 PMAnd besides - from experience if you're the kind of person who gets so intoxicated you're committing crimes you almost certainly have more than one substance onboard.

Just for the simple joy of disagreeing I will say that's not my experience.  Lots of folks around here throw back the hootch but are otherwise straightedge.

edit:  takes backs.  Didn't register the part about committing crimes.

Barrister

I was doing a bunch of impaired by drug files several years ago.  You'd have a drug expert do a series of evaluations, then they'd make a conclusion about what category of drugs the person was on (stimulants, CNS depresssants, etc).  Then they'd get a blood test to confirm.

What was difficult was that people were NEVER on just one drug...
Quote from: crazy canuckBB's treatment is consistent with one who defends positions taken by the conservative wing of the Conservatives.

crazy canuck

Quote from: Barrister on May 13, 2022, 03:30:09 PM
Quote from: merithyn on May 13, 2022, 03:15:47 PMDoes this negate all charges against drunk driving fatalities?

Well the court asserts that "there is good reason to believe Parliament understood that alcohol alone is unlikely to bring about the delusional state akin to automatism it sought to regulate" (emphasis added).  But it's a factual, not legal, distinction.

I've only skimmed the decision but haven't seen anything that explicitly limits it to combinations of alcohol and drugs.

And besides - from experience if you're the kind of person who gets so intoxicated you're committing crimes you almost certainly have more than one substance onboard.

Please refer to the bit in the headnote I quoted where the Court explicitly says just that.
I want you to panic

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"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

crazy canuck

I would help BB, if you read the case rather than inferring what the Court said from media reports.
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

Barrister

Quote from: crazy canuck on May 13, 2022, 04:05:58 PMI would help BB, if you read the case rather than inferring what the Court said from media reports.

For fuck sakes CC.

It's as if you missed the part where I linked directly to the case itself.

or the other part where I directly quoted the case itself.
Quote from: crazy canuckBB's treatment is consistent with one who defends positions taken by the conservative wing of the Conservatives.

Admiral Yi

Quote from: Barrister on May 13, 2022, 03:35:09 PMA couple of years ago they started up a "mental health court" here in Edmonton.  And there was a big debate over exactly  who qualifies to get into mental health court because yeah - very few people just calmly and rationally decide to turn to a life of crime.  And it's almost definitional, as some of the DSM diagnosis criteria require that the person have negative social interactions or the like.

To me it seems a contradiction that temporary insanity is a defense but we happily lock up the permanently insane.

Barrister

Quote from: Admiral Yi on May 13, 2022, 04:24:57 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 13, 2022, 03:35:09 PMA couple of years ago they started up a "mental health court" here in Edmonton.  And there was a big debate over exactly  who qualifies to get into mental health court because yeah - very few people just calmly and rationally decide to turn to a life of crime.  And it's almost definitional, as some of the DSM diagnosis criteria require that the person have negative social interactions or the like.

To me it seems a contradiction that temporary insanity is a defense but we happily lock up the permanently insane.


The thinking is this:

If someone suffers from non-insane automatism, then once that condition passes they're no risk to society, plus they weren't guilty in the first place.

If someone is not criminally responsible by reason of mental defect (NCRMD) they're also not guilty, but they continue to be a risk to society so we lock them up on that basis until they're better.

But it's the "until they're better" part that gets tricky.  It's pretty common to deal with someone who commits minor crimes but probably fits the NCRMD criteria.  Defence lawyers will not want to advance a NCRMD defence because they'll be locked up perhaps indefinitely, instead of a minor stint in the local hoosegow.
Quote from: crazy canuckBB's treatment is consistent with one who defends positions taken by the conservative wing of the Conservatives.

Malthus

Interesting case. The exception they keep alive is pretty narrow though - self-intoxication to the point of automatism. Just getting drunk and committing crimes won't do it, you have to be so out of it you have no ability to understand reality at all.

What annoyed the court was that the law, as drafted, imposed the same punishment for the "automaton" person as for someone will full consciousness committing the same crime. The court left the door open for imposing a separate punishment/create a crime of, basically, 'voluntarily getting that wasted in the first place, thus putting others at risk'. Or alternatively, a negligence based crime of intoxication if it was reasonably foreseeable that the violence could follow.

Which would seem sensible, if the exception for automatism was allowed.

In any event, it is likely to be pretty rare in practice - I doubt we will see a rash of judges letting people off because they drank a bottle of vodka before beating their spouse or whatever. The standard they suggest for automatism is petty extreme.
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Razgovory

How much cybernetic enhancement does it require before you are legally an automaton?
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

Raz is right. -MadImmortalMan March of 2017

Malthus

Quote from: Razgovory on May 14, 2022, 05:04:20 PMHow much cybernetic enhancement does it require before you are legally an automaton?

Enhance until no free will detectable.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane—Marcus Aurelius

The Brain

If you're too drunk to understand reality then you are unlikely to do more than lie on the ground. If you manage to enter and start a vechicle, or fire a gun, or stab someone, or give false information on your tax return, then clearly you still understand reality.
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DGuller

Quote from: The Brain on May 15, 2022, 07:58:09 AMIf you're too drunk to understand reality then you are unlikely to do more than lie on the ground. If you manage to enter and start a vechicle, or fire a gun, or stab someone, or give false information on your tax return, then clearly you still understand reality.
That's like saying that sleepwalking isn't a thing.  If you can walk and open doors, then you're obviously not sleeping.  Retaining some skills that have been trained by repetition to the point of automation doesn't mean that you're applying them with the minimum understanding of reality we expect from a reasonable person.

viper37

Quote from: Barrister on May 13, 2022, 01:51:16 PMIs it really good public policy to say "oh well, you were just highly intoxicated.  Sorry victims, nothing we can do here"?

Would that happen to drunk/impaired driving?

There are multiple cases a year where someone drank way too much, drove and cause a fatal accident.  They are usually charged with a crime, more than just driving/operating under influence.

But now, could they get these supplemental charges struck down and be only guilty of drunk driving?
I don't do meditation.
I drink alcohol to relax, like normal people.

Syt

I recall from ancient times when I was working in a traffic department for a few weeks, that in Germany, judges would assume that if you were able to drive a car while having a blood alcohol level above X (I think it was 0.16% at the time?) that you were a habitual drinker and withdraw your license for a year, and you had to do a psych evaluation before receiving it bacj.
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viper37

Quote from: Razgovory on May 14, 2022, 05:04:20 PMHow much cybernetic enhancement does it require before you are legally an automaton?
Borg Level.  Or Robocop with his intact directives.
I don't do meditation.
I drink alcohol to relax, like normal people.