Case link: Insanity – intoxication – Attorney General for Northern Ireland v Gallagher BAILII: [1961] UKHL 2

“The man is a psychopath. That is, he has a disease of the mind which is not produced by drink. But it is quiescent. And whilst it is quiescent, he forms an intention to kill his wife. He knows it is wrong but still he means to kill her. Then he gets Himself so drunk that he has an explosive outburst and kills his wife. At that moment he knows what he is doing but he does not know
it is wrong. So in that respect—in not knowing it is wrong—fee has a defect of reason at the moment of killing. If that defect of reason is due to the drink, it is no defence in law. But if it is due to the disease of themind, it gives rise to a defence of insanity. No one can say, however,
whether it is due to the drink or to the disease. It may well be due to both in combination. What guidance does the law give in this difficulty?

That is, as I see it, the question of general public importance which is involved in this case.”

To read the decision of the House of Lords click here

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