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Regina v. Kingston

Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
 [1993] 4 All E.R. 373, rev’d, House of Lords [1994] 3 All E.R. 353


In an attempt to blackmail Kingston (defendant), Penn placed a drug in Kingston’s drink and then photographed and audiotaped Kingston sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy at Penn’s home. Kingston was charged with indecent assault. At trial, the judge instructed the jury that it should acquit Kingston only if it found that Kingston did not have an intent to commit indecent assault on the boy. The trial judge noted, “a drugged intent is still an intent.” The jury convicted Kingston and he appealed, arguing that “an accused person may be entitled to be acquitted if there is a possibility that although his act was intentional, the intent itself arose out of circumstances for which he bears no blame.” Writing for the court of appeal, Lord Taylor noted that if a drink or a drug is secretly administered to an unsuspecting person who then commits an illegal act because he lacked self-control, and thus lacked the required mens rea to commit the offense, the person ought to be acquitted of the offense. Lord Taylor then reversed Kingston’s conviction, and the case was appealed to the House of Lords.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mustill, J.)

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