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Evidence of Intoxication in Australian Criminal Courts: A Complex Variable with Multiple Effects

Journal Article


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Abstract


  • This article reports on the second stage of a national study of how the

    effects of alcohol and other drugs are treated by criminal laws and the

    criminal justice system. Based on a mixed methods analysis of more than

    300 appellate court decisions from all Australian jurisdictions handed

    down in the period 2010–2014, we identify the multiple points at which

    legal significance is attached to evidence that the accused, the victim

    or a witness was ‘intoxicated’ at the time of the alleged commission of

    a criminal offence. Focusing on the rules and principles endorsed by

    appellate courts in relation to four key ‘sites’ of criminal justice decisionmaking

    — the admissibility of police interviews, the credibility and

    reliability of witness testimony, adjudication on the criminal responsibility

    of the accused, and determination of sentence for convicted offenders —

    we show that the impact of intoxication on the enforcement of the criminal

    law is complex. There is no single characterisation that can account for

    the multiple points at which intoxication may need to be assessed, and

    the divergent ways in which it can impact on adjudication. Depending

    on a range of site-specific and case-specific considerations, intoxication

    evidence may expand/contract the parameters of criminal responsibility,

    and it may yield higher or lower criminal penalties.

Authors


  •   McNamara, Luke J. (external author)
  •   Quilter, Julia A.
  •   Seear, Kate (external author)
  •   Room, Robin (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • L. McNamara, J. Quilter, K. Seear & R. Room, 'Evidence of Intoxication in Australian Criminal Courts: A Complex Variable with Multiple Effects' (2017) 43 (1) Monash University Law Review 148-194.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4230&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/3218

Number Of Pages


  • 46

Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 194

Volume


  • 43

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • This article reports on the second stage of a national study of how the

    effects of alcohol and other drugs are treated by criminal laws and the

    criminal justice system. Based on a mixed methods analysis of more than

    300 appellate court decisions from all Australian jurisdictions handed

    down in the period 2010–2014, we identify the multiple points at which

    legal significance is attached to evidence that the accused, the victim

    or a witness was ‘intoxicated’ at the time of the alleged commission of

    a criminal offence. Focusing on the rules and principles endorsed by

    appellate courts in relation to four key ‘sites’ of criminal justice decisionmaking

    — the admissibility of police interviews, the credibility and

    reliability of witness testimony, adjudication on the criminal responsibility

    of the accused, and determination of sentence for convicted offenders —

    we show that the impact of intoxication on the enforcement of the criminal

    law is complex. There is no single characterisation that can account for

    the multiple points at which intoxication may need to be assessed, and

    the divergent ways in which it can impact on adjudication. Depending

    on a range of site-specific and case-specific considerations, intoxication

    evidence may expand/contract the parameters of criminal responsibility,

    and it may yield higher or lower criminal penalties.

Authors


  •   McNamara, Luke J. (external author)
  •   Quilter, Julia A.
  •   Seear, Kate (external author)
  •   Room, Robin (external author)

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • L. McNamara, J. Quilter, K. Seear & R. Room, 'Evidence of Intoxication in Australian Criminal Courts: A Complex Variable with Multiple Effects' (2017) 43 (1) Monash University Law Review 148-194.

Ro Full-text Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4230&context=lhapapers

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/3218

Number Of Pages


  • 46

Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 194

Volume


  • 43

Issue


  • 1

Place Of Publication


  • Australia