Section 2: Learning about the law (Canada and other countries) (Lawyers’ Resource Kit)

This is Section 2 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.

This section provides detailed descriptions of the applicable national laws on HIV transmission and/or exposure, key decisions from national courts (some also included below in section 3), as well as articles from the relevant legal literature and other useful materials. It focuses on three countries — namely Canada, France and Switzerland — however, resources for lawyers and advocates from other countries can be found at the end of this section

CANADA

N.B. 1: Resources published prior to October 2012 that describe the current state of the criminal law as it relates to HIV non-disclosure in Canada do not take into account the recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions in R. v. Mabior and R. v. D.C.

N.B. 2: Additional cases and a Canadian sentencing chart are available for defence lawyers, upon request. Please contact Cécile Kazatchkine at ckazatchkine [at] aidslaw.ca.

Summary of current law

Key national cases

Post-Mabior 2012 decisions:

Court of Appeal decisions:

  • R. v. Schenkels, 2017 MBCA 62 (CanLII) (evidence of compl.’s HIV status; cross-examination)
  • R. v. Felix, 2013 ONCA 415; R. v. Mekonnen, 2013 ONCA 414 (unprotected sex; condom use; lack of evidence on viral load)

    Trial decisions:

    • R. v. W [2016] O.J. No. 3253 [accused’s identity intentionally removed] (Guilty plea, false pretense; absolute discharge)
    • R v. Thompson, 2016 NSSC 134 (condom use or low viral load or no ejaculation)
    • R. v. J.T.C., 2013 NSPC 105 (Acquittal; unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
    • R. v. J.T.C., 2013 NSPC 88 (Condom use; low viral load; critical analysis of R. v. Mabior)
    • R. v. Murphy, 2013 CanLII 54139 (ON SC) (Acquittal on oral sex count)
    • R. v. P. (19 June 2015) Toronto (ONCJ) [unreported — accused’s identity intentionally removed] (Evidence; Seaboyer application)
    • R. v. J.H., 2012 ONCJ 708 (Evidence ; Seaboyer application, Herpes)
    • Det S. Cullingworth, VPD v. B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, (26 March 2014) Vancouver (PC) [unreported] (Production order – Confidentiality of medical records)

    Pre-Mabior 2012 decisions:

    Supreme Court of Canada decisions:

    Court of Appeal decisions:

    • R. v. Mabior (C.L.), 2010 MBCA 93. (Acquittal; use of a condom or unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
    • R. c. D.C., 2010 QCCA 2289. (Acquittal; unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
    • R. v. Wright, 2009 BCCA 514. (Viral load when available is very relevant)

    Trial decisions:

    • R. v. Pottelberg, [2010] O.J. No. 5657 (Reasonable doubt whether complainant would have consented had he known)
    • R. v. Boon, 2012 ONSC 441 (Evidence; Seaboyer application to introduce complainant’s previous sexual history – see contrary decision, R. v. G. A.C., 2013 ONSC 3232)
    • R. v. J.A.T., 2010 BCSC 766; R. v. Nduwayo, 2010 BCSC 1277; R. v. J.U., 2011 ONCJ 457 (Unprotected sex does not necessarily represent a significant risk of HIV transmission — other relevant factors: position, number of acts, circumcision, ejaculation)
    • R. v. Edwards, 2001 NSSC 80. (Oral sex; protected anal sex; community standards among gay men)
    • R. v. Nduwayo, 2006 BCSC 1972 Summary; R. v. Nduwayo, 2010 BCSC 1277; R. v. Edwards, 2001 NSSC 80; R. c. D.C., 2008 QCCQ 629; R. v. Agnatuk-Mercier, [2001] O.J. 4729 (QL); R. v. Smith, [2007] S.J. 166 (QL); R. v. Imona-Russell, Unreported, Reasons for Judgment, 23 February 2009 (No legal duty to disclose when sex is protected)
    • R. v. Aziga, (4 April 2009), Hamilton CR-08-1735 (Murder conviction)
    • R. v. Bear, 2011 MBQB 191; R. v. Ratt, 2012 SKPC 154 (spitting cases)
    • R. v. Jones, [2002] N.B.J. 375 (QL). (Acquittal – Hepatitis C)

    Articles

    Additional resources

    FRANCE

    Summary of current law

    Key national cases

    SWITZERLAND

    Summary of current law

    Key national cases

    Articles

    OTHER JURISDICTIONS

    Global

    USA

    United Kingdom

    Australia

    Africa

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