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Canada’s Supreme Court rules being DRUNK is defense for sex attacks and killing

Sexual assault suspects can use being extremely drunk as a defense, Canada‘s highest court has said in a bombshell ruling.

The Supreme Court today said defendants accused of violent crimes can use self-induced extreme intoxication as a defense.

It found a law passed by Parliament in 1995 prohibiting the defense was unconstitutional and violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Judges ruled on three cases on Friday – with two being acquitted and one having a retrial – for crimes committed while drunk.

The move has struck down the federal law that had been fervently supported by women’s advocacy groups.

Supreme Court, Justice Nicholas Kasirer said: ‘Its impact on the principles of fundamental justice is disproportionate to its overarching public benefits. It should therefore be declared unconstitutional and of no force or effect.’

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Matthew Brown from Calgary was charged with break-and-enter and aggravated assault after the attack on Janet Hamnett left her with broken hands in 2018

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident. Pictured: Her hand after the attack

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident. Pictured: Her hand after the attack

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident. Pictured: Her hand after the attack

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident. Pictured: Her hand after the attack

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident. Pictured: Her hand after the attack

As a 19-year-old student in 2015 Thomas Chan took magic mushrooms before stabbing his father to death and injuring her partner in Peterborough, Ontario

As a 19-year-old student in 2015 Thomas Chan took magic mushrooms before stabbing his father to death and injuring her partner in Peterborough, Ontario

As a 19-year-old student in 2015 Thomas Chan took magic mushrooms before stabbing his father to death and injuring her partner in Peterborough, Ontario

Supreme Court acquits two men over attacks while high and orders new trial for student who killed his father

Broke a woman’s hands while on mushrooms

Matthew Brown from Calgary was charged with break-and-enter and aggravated assault after the attack on Janet Hamnett left her with broken hands in 2018.

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident.

He attacked the professor with a broom handle after breaking into her home while naked and high on mushrooms.

The court today restored his acquittal.

Student, 19, stabs his father to death while high on mushrooms 

As a 19-year-old student in 2015 Thomas Chan took magic mushrooms before stabbing his father to death and injuring her partner in Peterborough, Ontario.

Matthew Gourlay, representing Chan, said in October the Crown did not make a persuasive argument that Chan is a criminal.

He said: ‘Our client, Thomas Chan, did something horrible when he was not in his right mind — but not every tragedy has a villain. The Crown in our case has never been able to articulate why Thomas Chan, in particular, needs to be convicted and punished as a criminal.’

The judge today ordered a new trial.

Tried to kill himself but stabbed his mother after thinking she was an ALIEN while he was taking Wellbutrin

in 2013 David Sullivan, from Whitby, Ontario, tried to kill himself by taking Wellbutrin but stabbed his mother, who later died of an unrelated heart attack.

Stephanie DiGiuseppe, the attorney representing Sullivan, previously said he could not have foreseen the harm his suicide attempt would cause.

She said: ‘Intentional violence and inadvertent violence are not the same thing.

‘If somebody hit someone else with their vehicle, we would be almost laughable to go to that person and say, ‘We’re going to convict you of assault.”

His acquittal was upheld by the court today.

At issue was whether defendants accused of a violent crime in criminal court can raise extreme intoxication known as ‘non-mental disorder automatism’ as a defense.

They can claim their actions were involuntary as a result of taking drugs or alcohol, and, as a result, cannot be held criminally responsible for their actions.

The court said it is the law in Canada that intoxication short of automatism is not a defense for the kind of violent crime at issue.

Canadian courts have been split on the issue, while women’s advocacy groups have argued the law is needed to protect women and children.

Four out of five victims of intimate partner violence were women and they were five times more likely to experience sexual assault in 2019, government data shows.

In 1994, the court ruled in favor of an extreme intoxication defense by a suspect who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a wheelchair when he was drunk.

In response to the ruling, Canada’s Parliament passed a law which prohibited defendants from using extreme intoxication as a defense in violent crime cases.

The court today restored the acquittal for a man who attacked a professor with a broom handle after breaking into her home while naked and high on mushrooms.

Matthew Brown from Calgary was charged with break-and-enter and aggravated assault after the attack on Janet Hamnett left her with broken hands in 2018.

He had taken about 2.5 grams of magic mushrooms and drunk about 12-14 ounces of vodka as well as a few beers before the incident.

Hamnett told CBC: ‘Although I am very disappointed with this decision, it is not about me at this stage.

‘What is most important to consider is this negatively impacts victims of aggravated assault across Canada — some of who are no longer with us because they died as a result of their attacks.’

Brown’s case was one of three involving the extreme intoxication defense heard at the Supreme Court on Friday, with Thomas Chan and David Sullivan also heard.

As a 19-year-old student in 2015 Chan took magic mushrooms before stabbing his father to death and injuring her partner in Peterborough, Ontario.

Meanwhile in 2013 Sullivan, from Whitby, tried to kill himself by taking Wellbutrin but stabbed his mother, who later died of an unrelated heart attack, because he thought she was an alien.

They were both convicted but Ontario’s Court of Appeal overturned the decision – with the appeal going to the Supreme Court.

The court today upheld Sullivan’s acquittal and ordered a new trial for Chan.

Brown's case was one of three involving the extreme intoxication defense heard at the Supreme Court on Friday, with Thomas Chan and David Sullivan also heard. Pictured: Hamnett

Brown's case was one of three involving the extreme intoxication defense heard at the Supreme Court on Friday, with Thomas Chan and David Sullivan also heard. Pictured: Hamnett

Brown’s case was one of three involving the extreme intoxication defense heard at the Supreme Court on Friday, with Thomas Chan and David Sullivan also heard. Pictured: Hamnett

Justice Nicholas Kasirer said the Criminal Code preventing automatism defense infringed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He said an intent to get drunk was not an intent to commit an offense as well as the Crown needing to prove the person meant the attack.

The court urged Parliament to bring in legislation to help victims of crime caused by extremely intoxicated people.

It said ‘protecting the victims of violent crime — particularly in light of the equality and dignity interests of women and children who are vulnerable to intoxicated sexual and domestic acts — is a pressing and substantial social purpose’.

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