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   Home      R v Sheehan and Moore
R v Sheehan and Moore (1975) 60 Cr App R 308

The two appellants, in a drunken state, poured petrol over a man and set light to him causing his death.


The relevant question was not whether the appellants were capable of forming the mens rea it was whether they had in fact formed the mens rea - a drunken intent is still an intent. The burden of proving mens rea remained on the prosecution.

".....in cases where drunkenness and its possible effect upon the defendant's men's rea is an issue, we think that the proper direction to a jury is, first, to warn them that the mere fact that the defendant's mind was affected by drink so that he acted in a way in which he would not have done had he been sober does not assist him at all, provided that the necessary intention was there. A drunken intent is nevertheless an intent.

The jury is to be directed to have regard to all the evidence, including that relating to drink, to draw such inferences as they think proper from the evidence, and on that basis to ask themselves whether they feel sure that at the material time the defendant had the requisite intent."
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