Whether the accused was intoxicated at the time of the offence is a consideration in regards to whether the individual had the necessary intent for an offence requiring proof of specific intent (s428C).

However this defence will not be accepted by the Court if the individual had decided to commit the offence prior to intoxication or became intoxicated for the purposes of cementing their mindset to commit the offence.

The jury must be specifically directed that the accused’s intoxication is relevant to the question of whether he had the necessary intent: Bellchambers v Regina {2008] NSWCCA 235.

For offences committed before 16 August 1996, intoxication such that there was no intention is a defence for all offences including manslaughter (Martin (1984) 58 ALJR 217, O’Connor (1980) 146 CLR 64). For offences committed after 16 August 1996, intoxication is irrelevant for voluntariness, and only provides a defence in relation to intention when the offence is one of specific intent, such as murder, and maliciously inflict gbh with intent (s. 428 C-D Crimes Act, Commonwealth Criminal Code sections 4.2 and 8.2).

Murder is an offence of specific intent, regardless of the legal basis on which it has been found that murder has been committed: Grant (2002) 55 NSWLR 80, 131 A Crim R 510.

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