Richardson and Irwin [1999] 1 Cr App R 392

Key point

  • To be guilty of a crime with the mens rea of recklessness while intoxicated, the risk of harm must be foreseeable to the defendant when sober, and not just foreseeable to a reasonable person when sober


  • Ds threw V down a balcony while drunk
  • Ds were charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm
  • Judge directed jury that they had to be sure that they were reckless according to standards of reasonable and sober man

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • Appeal allowed – convictions quashed
  • Trial judge should have directed that the jury had to be sure that Ds would have foreseen the risk of injury had they been sober


  • This case is anomalous as it suggests that the lack of recklessness induced by intoxication is to be taken into account contrary to Majewski