Nuancing Feminist Perspectives on the Voluntary Intoxication Defence

30 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2020 Last revised: 14 Sep 2020

See all articles by Florence Ashley

Florence Ashley

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 23, 2020

Abstract

The defence of voluntary intoxication, which has been back in the news as a result of the recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in R v Sullivan, is frequently decried as antifeminist. Pursuant to the defence, defendants who acted while intoxicated to the point of automatism or severe psychosis may be acquitted. This article seeks to complicate feminist perspective on the voluntary intoxication defence, showing that the issue of voluntary intoxication is far more nuanced than some suggest. After summarizing the state of the law of the voluntary intoxication defence and reviewing its prevalence in the jurisprudence, the article critically reflects on the voluntary intoxication defence and highlights how its removal contributes to the criminalisation of mental illness and weakens crucial criminal law standards used to protect the most vulnerable—both problems from a feminist standpoint. The article concludes that a feminist analysis of the voluntary intoxication defence requires more nuanced policy discussions than have prevailed in the public sphere.

Keywords: voluntary intoxication defence, feminism, automatism, criminalisation of mental illness, carceralism, principles of fundamental justice

Suggested Citation

Ashley, Florence, Nuancing Feminist Perspectives on the Voluntary Intoxication Defence (June 23, 2020). (2020) 43(5) Manitoba Law Journal 65–94, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3633569

Florence Ashley (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Faculty of Law ( email )

Law Centre (111 - 89 Ave)
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H5
Canada

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
310
Abstract Views
1,311
Rank
180,437
PlumX Metrics