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The effects of alcohol and sedative-hypnotic-anxiolytic drugs intoxication on marital consent: a case study

; Ottawa Vol. 35, Iss. 2,  (2001): 293-356.

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The marriage between Thomas and Amarylla was celebrated on 15 July 1976. The common life lasted till November 1978 when a legal separation was obtained, and this was followed by civil divorce in 1979. About eight years later, on 3 February 1987, Thomas petitioned the tribunal of the Vicariate of Rome to seek competence to judge his case in view of declaring the invalidity of his marriage, but this was denied by the tribunal of the domicile of the respondent. Then the petition was forwarded on 4 February 1989 to the tribunal of Milan competent to judge the case on the basis of the respondent's domicile (c. 1673, [Symbol Not Transcribed] [section]2). The grounds of nullity originally proposed by the petitioner were: lack of sufficient use of reason (c. 1095, 1[Symbol Not Transcribed] [degree]) and exclusion of indissolubility of marriage (c. 1101, [Symbol Not Transcribed] [section]2), both on his part. Before the conclusion of the case, another ground was added at the request of the petitioner, namely grave lack of discretion of judgement (c. 1095, 2[Symbol Not Transcribed] [degree]) also on his part.

The principal argument on which he based his claim of invalidity of the marriage was that at the moment of exchanging consent he was literally so intoxicated from the consumption of an immoderate amount of alcohol and barbiturate drugs just prior to the wedding celebration that he could not either understand the nature of his act of consent (c. 1095, 1[Symbol Not Transcribed] [degree]) or sufficiently deliberate and freely choose the rights and duties he was to assume in the act of his consent (c. 1095, 2[Symbol Not Transcribed] [degree]).

In order to prove his thesis he had to provide evidence confirming several facts: first, the fact that he had consumed an immoderate amount of alcohol prior...