Defendants convicted of violent crimes such as murder and sexual assault may use self-inflicted extreme intoxication – known as “non-mental disorder automation” – as a defense in a criminal court, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.
The court ruled that a 1995 law banning such defenses violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Its impact on the principle of fundamental justice is unequal to the benefit of the wider public. Therefore, it should be declared unconstitutional and there is no coercion or influence. ” Justice Nicholas Cassier mentioned.
The law violated the charter because the defendant’s decision to become intoxicated did not mean he was planning to commit a violent crime, Cassira explained. He added that it allows the court to convict a person without proving any bad intentions.
The issue came before the Supreme Court last autumn and is related to three separate cases. One of them is David Sullivan from Calgary, who in 2013 took a prescription drug known as the cause of psychosis to attempt suicide, but eventually stabbed his mother, whom he believed was an alien at the time because of his mental state. .
Sullivan was banned from using extreme drug defense, and was convicted of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. But an appellate court later ruled that the law barring such defenses was unconstitutional and acquitted the man in both cases.
Prosecutors have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which on Friday upheld Sullivan’s acquittal. Canadian Justice Minister David Lameti said the government was studying the verdict thoroughly.
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“It is critically important to emphasize that today’s ruling does not apply in most cases that a person commits a criminal offense under the influence of drugs.” Lameti mentioned in a statement.
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