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Thursday 19 August 2010

Canada: 2 cases - Alberta man gets three years for non-disclosure; woman refugee arrested and charged in Ontario

A 44 year-old man from Edmonton, Alberta who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for not disclosing that he was HIV-positive during a one-off consensual encounter with a woman – whilst his viral load was undetectable – has been has been sentenced to three years in prison.

According to the Toronto Sun report, he had been charged with aggravated sexual assault but was "allowed to plead guilty to the lesser offence of aggravated assault."  The report doesn't mention it, but obviously the woman did not test HIV-positive given the insignificant risk of transmission.

Apparently, the man's roommates turned him in.

Prosecutor Avril Herron told court Gilbertson was arrested June 3 after police were called by his roommates, who had come home and found him having sex with the woman and were concerned about his HIV status. Herron said the woman was drunk and initially found passed out and had some problems telling police the details of what exactly had happened.
In words that parallel Nadja Benaissa's recent statement to a Darmstadt court, he told the court that he had "made a bad choice," but said "in no way was it deliberate."
The provincial court judge questioned Gilbertson's guilty plea after he said he didn't mean to do it. However, he admitted he did not tell the woman he was HIV-positive. Gilbertson also told the judge he takes medications for the disease, which he claimed is barely detectable on tests, and said he has a full support team in the community looking out for his needs.
Judge Marilena Carminati appeared to have no sympathy for the man (nor a finer understanding of the impact of treatment on infectiousness – although perhaps a better lawyer would have helped), and as well as sentencing him to three years in prison ordered him to submit a DNA sample for the national DNA databank and, bizarrely, prohibited him from possessing weapons for life.

Meanwhile, a 32 year-old woman of Zimbabwean origin was arrested in Brampton, Ontario on August 10th for allegedly not disclosing that she was HIV-positive "with at least one sex partner on more than one occasion" during sex with a man who has since tested HIV-negative.

Details are sketchy, and oddly, the case only appears to have been reported on New, a UK-based paper for the Zimbabwean diaspora.  The report states that that woman "arrived in Canada from Indianapolis, United States, as a refugee in 2008" but doesn't say when she left Zimbabwe (or why). 

The woman will face aggravated assault charges on September 13th at Toronto College Park courts and is currently out on "stringent bail conditions" that mean she is currently under house arrest.

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