Federal Justice Minister David Lametti is expected to table a bill as early as today that would respond to a Supreme Court ruling to allow voluntary extreme intoxication as a defence for serious crimes.
In May’s unanimous decision, Justice Nicholas Kasirer wrote that convicting someone for how they behave in a state of automatism, or when they are too intoxicated to stay in control, violates principles of fundamental justice.
The court upheld two acquittals of men who committed violent acts after voluntarily consuming drugs, and ordered a new trial in a third, similar case.
It suggested Parliament could enact new legislation to hold extremely intoxicated people accountable for violent crimes.
The justices struck down as unconstitutional an existing section of the Criminal Code that specified “self-induced intoxication” cannot be used as a defence for violent offences.
The section had been added by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien in 1995, in response to a Supreme Court decision that acquitted a man of sexual assault because he was blackout drunk at the time of the offence.