Regina v. Kingston
4 All E.R. 373 (1993), 2 All E.R. 353 (1994)

  • Kingston was arrested after a videotape of him sexually assaulting a young boy surfaced.
    • Kingston argued that a guy named Penn was trying to blackmail him. He argued that Penn drugged him and coerced him into assaulting the boy.
  • The Trial court convicted Kingston of sexual assault. He appealed.
    • The Trial Court found that a drugged intent is still an intent.
  • The Appellate Court overturned the conviction.
    • The Appellate Court found that even if Kingston had ‘inclinations’ to abuse little boys he was not acting on them. Penn’s actions in surreptitiously drugging and removing Kingston’s natural inhibitions and self-control was what was responsible for the assault.
    • Therefore the law should exculpate him because the operative fault is not his. Involuntary intoxication negates mens rea.
  • The House of Lords reversed and reinstated the conviction.
    • The House of Lords found that involuntary “disinhibition” does not negate mens rea because an intoxicated defendant still possesses the intent to perform the criminal act.
    • The Court further found that allowing such a defense would present insurmountable evidentiary problems, because the jury would have to determine how much of the intent was natural and how much was from the drug.
  • Under the Model Penal Code, for both involuntary intoxication and diminished mental capacity, it is not enough to show that if you hadn’t been incapacitated you wouldn’t have committed the crime. You have to show that you lack substantial capacity to conform or lack substantial capacity to understand.