Involuntary intoxication acquittal
Our client was acquitted of affray and assault of police on the basis he was involuntarily intoxicated. He had taken an overdose of prescription drugs which affected his behaviour.
Our client was seen shouting out of the window of his upper floor flat while wielding a pair of kitchen knives. Upon police arrival he began to pour boiling water from the window in the direction of officers below. Equipped with riot shields, 23 officers forced entry to his flat.
Our client’s case was that he had taken an overdose of 40 prescription sleeping tablets in a bid to commit suicide. He said that the drugs had made him behave the way he did and that he had no recollection of events. We instructed a forensic psychiatrist who confirmed that the drug’s side-effects could cause this type of behaviour.
After a trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court our client was acquitted on the basis he had no foresight of the risks of taking the drug. He was able to avail himself of the defence of involuntary intoxication notwithstanding the fact that he had voluntarily taken the overdose. Agreeing with defence submissions, the District Judge stated that the defendant had been “very lucky” with his representation.
This was a particularly difficult case as we had to establish firstly that the medication might have caused a side effect such as it did, and then persuade the Court that such a side effect was not foreseeable.
The case was prepared by Chloe Birch and Oliver Lewis, who was also the advocate.