Another HIV+ Man Acquitted

May 7, 2010

VANCOUVER BC — A judge has found an HIV-positive man not guilty of aggravated sexual assault for having unprotected sex with a gay partner in Vancouver.  B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon also found the accused, who cannot be identified under an unusual publication ban, was not guilty of the lesser and included offence of sexual assault.

by Keith Fraser
The Province

The accused claimed he had had unprotected sex without his boyfriend knowing about his HIV status only once. The complainant, whose identity was also shielded by the court, testified that he was deceived five times.

The judge determined there were in fact three instances — making the risk of viral transmission 12 in 10,000 — but that it was not sufficient to represent a significant risk of harm.

She noted that it may have been immoral for the accused to have had sex while deceiving his partner, but that the circumstances did not give rise to a criminal offence.

Citing the evidence of physicians, she noted that HIV is a more treatable condition and no longer is it the case that someone with HIV invariably develops the fatal disease AIDS.

Upon hearing the verdict, the accused embraced his lawyer. The Crown declined to comment outside court.