Jaggard v Dickinson [1981] QB 527

Key point

  • Where statute explicitly states that a particular belief shall be defence to a charge, if D held the belief, he is not guilty even if the belief arose from a drunken mistake


  • D was given consent to use friends house
  • D was drunk and entered another house that was identical and gained entry by breaking windows and damaging curtains
  • D was charged for criminal damage contrary to s1(1) of Criminal Damage Act 1971
  • D argued that s5(2) of the 1971 Act offered her a defence to the charge as she honestly believed that she had been given consent to damage the property
  • The judge convicted her on the basis that her belief was brought upon by voluntary intoxication and was therefore to be excluded according to Majewski

Held (Divisional Court)

  • Appeal allowed – intoxication can be used to substantiate an honest belief under s5(2)

Mustill LJ

  • In Majewski, ‘ the House of Lords did not conclude that intoxication was irrelevant to the fact of the defendant’s state of mind, but rather that, whatever might have been his actual state of mind, he should for reasons of policy be precluded from relying on any alteration in that state brought about by self-induced intoxication … But these considerations do not apply to a case where Parliament has specifically required the court to consider the defendant’s actual state of belief, not the state of belief which ought to have existed. It seems to us that the court is required by section 5(3) to focus on the existence of the belief, not its intellectual soundness; and a belief can be just as much honestly held if it is induced by intoxication as if it stems from stupidity, forgetfulness or inattention’