Kathleen Blanchard v. Her Majesty the Queen

(Que.) (Criminal) (As of Right)


Criminal law - Defences, Automatism, Intoxication - Criminal law - Defences - Automatism - Extreme intoxication - Whether defence of extreme intoxication akin to automatism is available for offence of failing to comply with demand to provide breath sample described in s. 254(5) of Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C 46 - Whether trial judge erred in law in finding that appellant was in state of extreme intoxication akin to automatism.


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The appellant Kathleen Blanchard was acquitted of refusing to comply with a demand to provide a breath sample (s. 254(5) of the Criminal Code). The trial judge accepted her defence of non mental disorder automatism resulting from her advanced state of self induced intoxication. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and convicted the appellant. Doyon J.A., dissenting, would have dismissed the appeal. In his view, the defence of extreme intoxication was available for all types of offences unless it was excluded by law. In the instant case, s. 33.1 of the Criminal Code did not apply to the offence of refusing to provide a breath sample, so the defence was available.