R v Kingston [1995] 2 AC 355

Key point

  • Voluntary intoxication is no defence if mens rea was present, even if the mens rea was induced by voluntary intoxication


  • Kingston (D) had pedophilic tendencies, he was drugged which resulted in him assaulting an underage boy
  • He admitted his tendencies but claimed to have been able to keep it under control and that the drugs caused him to lose his inhibitions and commit the offence
  • The judge directed the jury to convict if they found that he had intention they should convict even if the intention was induced by intoxication
  • The Court of Appeal quashed his conviction on the ground that D’s intention arose out of circumstances for which he bears no blame.’

Held (House of Lords)

  • Appeal allowed – conviction reinstated

Lord Mustill

  • Citing Professor Griew, what the Court of Appeal did was to introduce a new exculpatory defence that applies when mens rea is made out
  • The defence introduced by the Court of Appeal has no basis in common law