Rulings issued Friday by the Supreme Court of Canada to permit self-induced extreme intoxication as a legal defence in assault cases will allow a new trial to proceed for a Peterborough, Ont., man previously convicted of the murder of his father, while also upholding an acquittal of a Whitby, Ont., man who attacked his mother.
On Friday morning, Canada’s top court upheld the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decisions last summer for both Thomas Chan of Peterborough and David Sullivan of Whitby.
The separate cases saw both men argue that drugs had left them in a state of mind known as “automatism” in which they were so intoxicated or impaired they lost complete control of themselves. The state of mind is different from being drunk or high, it is a temporary psychosis.
As Global’s Jessica Nyznik reports, in both trials, the defence argued Section 33.1 of the Criminal Code violated their clients’ Charter rights since the section prevented a person from using the non-mental disorder automatism as a defence for crimes.
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