[Update]Canada: Ontario’s Court of Appeal quashed attempted murder convictions and ordered retrial of man convicted in 2012 for alleged HIV non-disclosure

Appeal won

Appeal court orders retrial of HIV-positive Ottawa man convicted of attempted murder

August 12, 2019
Source: CBC Canada

Trial judge did not adequately instruct jury on what needed to be proven

Ontario’s Court of Appeal has quashed three convictions and ordered the retrial of an Ottawa man who was convicted of attempted murder in 2012 after failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to three sex partners.

Steven Boone was originally found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated sexual assault.

Boone was also found guilty of two counts of administering a noxious thing — HIV — and one count of attempting to do so, but the trial judge stayed those charges.

In a ruling released on Monday, the appeal court found that the trial judge did not adequately instruct the jury on what needed to be proven to find Boone guilty of attempted murder. It quashed the convictions and ordered a new trial.

During the trial, the Crown relied heavily on sexually explicit online chat history, in which Boone would seek sex with HIV-negative men.

Monday’s ruling states the trial judge failed to instruct the jury that in order to find Boone guilty of attempting to murder his sexual partners, the Crown had to prove Boone believed death was a certainty.

“It was essential that the jury be told that it could convict the appellant on the attempted murder charges only if satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant acted with the purpose of killing each of the complainants, or that he believed their death at some point in the future from AIDS was a virtually certain consequence of HIV infection,” the ruling says.

Jury needed ‘specific instruction’

“There was a real danger that without the specific instruction outlined above, that the jury would proceed on the basis that the appellant ‘meant’ any consequence that he saw as a possible or probable consequence of HIV infection.”

The appeal court is also ordering a new trial for the charge of attempting to administer a noxious thing, which was originally stayed.

The first charges were laid against Boone in 2010 after a then-17-year-old Ottawa man came forward to police.

He had tested positive for HIV after having unprotected sex with Boone several times, and he said Boone never told him he had the disease.

Ottawa police released Boone’s photo, seeking any other potential victims.

Monday’s ruling said Boone was sentenced in 2016 to 14 years in prison, less time served, and handed a long-term supervision order.

Appeal lost

Court upholds sex assault conviction for man who didn’t tell partners he was HIV-positive

April 2, 2016
Source: National Post

TORONTO — An aggravated sexual assault conviction will stand for a man who had unprotected sex with two other men without telling them he was HIV-positive.

In a ruling this week, Ontario’s top court upheld the December 2012 jury conviction against Steven Boone, who argued the complainants would have had sex with him anyway.

Ontario’s top court upheld the December 2012 jury conviction against Steven Boone

Among other things, Boone argued the trial judge should have instructed jurors to acquit him if they found the complainants were reckless or prepared to assume the risk of unprotected sex without knowing the sexual health of their partner.

“It is one thing to be careless or reckless about whether a risk exists — and quite another to assume a known risk,” the Appeal Court said in rejecting the argument.

“Even if the complainants were reckless in their sexual behaviour, whether in the past or at the time of their sexual encounter with the appellant, this has no bearing on the issue whether they would have consented had they known of the appellant’s HIV-positive status.”

Evidence shows Boone knew in October 2009 he was infected — a fact he failed to mention before the impugned sexual activity in March 2010 in Kitchener, Ont.

After two sexual rounds, one of which involved a foursome, Boone sent a text to one of the complainants to let him know — much to his horror — that he was HIV-positive.

Neither complainant, who sought immediate medical attention, contracted the virus that can lead to AIDS.

At trial, Boone admitted to the unprotected sex and withholding his health status. The complainants testified they would not have had sex with him had they known — the central issue at trial.

Before the trial, Boone’s lawyer won permission to grill the complainants on their prior sexual conduct — normally off-limits in cases of sexual assault. Both admitted to regularly having unprotected sex — including group sex — with men whose HIV status they did not know, court records show.

Boone argued the evidence showing they had been sexually careless in the past cast doubt on their claim that they would not have had sex with him had they known he was HIV-positive. The Appeal Court disagreed.

In its ruling, the court said a person must disclose their HIV-positive status before having sex — an obligation that doesn’t end if the proposed partner had previously been reckless.

The decision includes a discussion — at the Crown’s request — of the earlier ruling allowing Boone’s lawyer to cross-examine the complainants on their prior sexual conduct.

Even if the complainants were reckless in their sexual behaviour … this has no bearing on the issue whether they would have consented had they known of the appellant’s HIV-positive status

In his reasons, Justice Robert Sharpe said he wanted to clarify the law, which aims to protect sexual-assault complainants from the “twin myths” that their past sexual behaviour either made it more likely they had given consent or that they were less worthy of belief. Ultimately, Sharpe decided, the judge had been wrong to allow the questioning.

“There are many cases, among them sexual assault, where consent is at issue in which the accused is faced with incriminating evidence from a witness that is difficult to challenge,” the decision states.

“Such difficulties do not justify changing, bending or distorting the law to make it easier for the accused to raise a reasonable doubt.”


'Poz vampire' gets 9 years for attempted murder

March 9, 2016
Source: Ottawa Sun

Ottawa’s self-described “Poz Vampire” — who deliberately tried to infect unsuspecting sex partners with HIV — has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Branded by a judge as “calculated and ruthless,” Steven Paul Boone, 35, was sentenced Wednesday for three counts of attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault.

Boone deliberately contracted HIV in 2009 with the disturbing goal of infecting the vulnerable and young — including two teenage boys, one of whom later testified positive.

In online chats on a “bug chaser” site — a website for people who either want to infect or be infected with a disease — Boone discussed his criminal exploits and said he became sexually aroused by “stealth pozzing,” or infecting unsuspecting partners.

Boone bragged online about his ability to persuade young men to engage in unprotected sex and refused to take antiretroviral medication, court heard, because he figured his semen would be more potent and boost his plan to “convert” partners.

Boone told his victims he was clean even though he had tested positive a year before he tried to kill young men in 2010.

In handing down her sentence for the unprecedented case, Superior Court Justice Bonnie Warkentin said: “It is difficult to comprehend that a person would act in such a deliberate fashion as Mr. Boone did when engaging in sexual intercourse (with the 17-year-old boy who became infected).”

The victim, now in his 20s, will never be able to enjoy life to its fullest and his life expectancy will be reduced by more than 12 years, court heard.

“I hadn’t even turned 18 yet … I still had so much I wanted to do, so much I thought I could do. It felt like it was just taken away because I had a lapse in judgment, because I decided to trust somebody,” the young man told a jury at trial. He was in high school when he was infected.

Boone was convicted back in October 2012 but sentencing was delayed for various reasons, notably because of a Crown application to designate him as a long-term offender with the hopes that he’d be intensely supervised after release from prison.

Judge Warkentin ruled in favour of the Crown on Wednesday and ordered that Boone be closely supervised for five years after his release. Under the supervision conditions, Boone will be required to take his antiretroviral medication, get treatment for his personality disorders and be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing.

Boone waved and smiled at two supporters as he took his seat in the prisoner’s box at the sentencing hearing. Boone was born to teenage parents in 1981 and raised by his maternal grandparents. He finished high school and dropped out of Laurentian University’s Law and Justice program after one year. He held a variety of jobs but always ended up getting fired. Throughout his 20s, and until his arrest, the unemployed Boone regularly drank until he blacked out, court heard.

Boone was sentenced to 14 years, but after time credited for pre-sentence custody he will serve nine years and three months in prison.

To this day, Boone maintains his innocence.

See also CBC News November 1 2012

A 31-year-old Ottawa man has been found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and three counts of aggravated sexual assault after failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to sex partners.

Steven Boone still has two more trials left related to having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status. (Facebook )

Steven Boone was also found guilty of two counts of administering a noxious substance —his semen — and one count of attempting to do so.

He was acquitted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to oral sex with two men.

The verdict was reached Wednesday evening.

The first charges were laid against Boone in 2010 after a then-17-year-old Ottawa man came forward to police.

He had tested positive for HIV after having unprotected sex with Boone several times, and he said Boone never told him he had the disease.

Ottawa police then released Boone’s photo in a media release asking any other potential victims to come forward.


Thursday’s guilty verdict comes after a controversial Supreme Court of Canada ruling last month, which states people are not required to disclose if they have HIV unless their viral load count is deemed high enough to potentially infect someone with the disease.

The Supreme Court of Canada also decided condoms would have to be worn for the viral load consideration to be taken into account.

Carissima Mathen is a criminal and constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa, who has done research about the criminal responsibility of failing to disclose HIV status.

“Attempted murder is really about the intent of the defendant, what was the defendant’s state of mind,” Mathen said Friday. “And as long as you can show an intent to kill, combined with some action that takes it beyond mere preparation or just thinking about it, that’s enough to show attempted murder.

“The issue around failure to disclose HIV is that because that’s an area where there can be different motivations at work, it can be a little bit tricky, or possibly a slippery slope to start to think that everyone who deliberately withholds that information — maybe because they’re just careless or they’re not thinking about the other person — will there be a temptation to say, well, they must have intended to kill the person,” she said.

Many in the gay community believe criminalizing HIV non-disclosure will cause some people to avoid getting tested.

During the trial, the Crown relied heavily on sexually explicit online chat history, in which Boone would seek sex with HIV-negative men.

Boone is facing similar charges in Ottawa on Nov. 13, and still more similar charges in Waterloo next month.

He is expected to be sentenced after the second Ottawa trial ends


Two men jailed for failing to tell sex partners about HIV

May 7, 2013
Source: The Record

KITCHENER – A man convicted of hiding his HIV from sexual partners both apologized and insisted Tuesday that he never meant to pass the virus on. Steven Boone, 32, has been depicted by prosecutors as part of a subculture dedicated to seeking out and deliberately infecting unsuspecting men. Boone and Noel Bowland, 26, of Kitchener were both convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault after a Superior Court jury trial.Boone has been in custody for three years. With extra credit for that time, he has already more than served the four-year term imposed. He remains in custody, however, while awaiting sentencing for even more serious HIV-related crimes in Ottawa, including three counts of attempted murder between December 2009 and April 2010. Bowland — who had no prior record and was a clear follower in his relationship with Boone — received an 18-month jail term and three years on probation.

Charges dropped/acquittal

Twice convicted man not guilty of attempted murder - Ottawa - CBC News

January 3, 2013
Source: CBC

An Ottawa man twice convicted of trying to infect sex partners with HIV has been found not guilty of similar charges involving a developmentally delayed man. Steven Boone was facing five charges after having sex with a disabled man who was 21 at the time. The charges included attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault.


Men on trial for not revealing HIV-positive status

December 8, 2012
Source: Metro News

A man on trial for not revealing his HIV-positive status to sexual partners admitted to a friend that he and another HIV-positive man passed the virus to two unsuspecting gay men in Kitchener, a jury heard Wednesday. Boone, 31, of Ottawa, and Bowland, 26, of Kitchener, have pleaded not guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault for endangering the lives of the two men who participated in an orgy with them in March 2010. Boone faces a third similar charge involving one of the men.


Steven Boone takes stand, denies assault on disabled man

November 15, 2012
Source: Ottawa Citizen

Boone has pleaded not guilty to all the charges: attempted murder, sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, administering a noxious substance — his semen — and failure to comply with conditions. Boone testified that his online persona plays into a fantasy — not reality — that occasionally draws on elements from his actual life. “You need to understand that what I say on the Internet — most of it doesn’t happen,” he testified. “I’m normally very passive.” Boone denied on the stand that he ever had intercourse with the man. Closing arguments will be heard on Thursday.


Second Boone trial begins as disabled man describes attempts to force sex

Source: Ottawa Citizen

A developmentally delayed man said he just wanted to cuddle when he invited Steven Boone into his bedroom in what he hoped would be the beginning of a romantic relationship with someone who cared about him. Boone, who is HIV-positive, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, sexual assault, attempted aggravated sexual assault, administering a noxious substance — his semen — and failure to comply with conditions. The trial that began Tuesday comes two weeks after a jury found Boone guilty of trying to kill his sexual partners by having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV status.


Accused was looking for love, not trying to kill sex partners with HIV, court hears

December 30, 2012
Source: Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — A man on trial for attempted murder wanted to date — not kill — the sex partners he is accused of trying to infect with HIV, his lawyer argued Monday. Lawyer Ian Carter also said that thousands of pages of “shocking, offensive and even morally reprehensible” online sex chats between Steven Boone and other gay men where he effused about infecting others with his disease was “a lot of charged up sexual fantasy talk. Boone lied about his HIV positive status because he didn’t want to get rejected, Carter said.


Steven Boone likely infected teen with HIV, expert testifies

December 24, 2012
Source: Canoe

OTTAWA- Steven Boone is likely the one who infected a 17-year-old boy with HIV, an expert on the virus testified Tuesday at Boone’s trial on charges including attempted murder. “It is far more likely he was infected by Mr. Boone than any of those partners,” epidemiologist Dr. Robert Remis testified, pointing to the timing and number of sex acts.


AIDS group angry over HIV guilty verdict

November 2, 2012
Source: Toronto Sun

The Aids Committee of Ottawa (ACO) is livid with the guilty verdict handed to Steven Boone on Wednesday for attempted murder and administering a noxious substance — HIV — to his sexual partners.

“These verdicts will aid to increase rates of HIV in Canada as talking about sex goes back into the closet and stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS continues to thrive,” states an excerpt from the ACO press release sent out on Thursday.

In addition to attempted murder and administering a noxious substance, Boone was convicted of three counts of aggravated sexual assault related to three men he penetrated anally without a condom and one man he penetrated using a condom.

Boone told his partners he was clean.

The ACO argues that the severity of these verdicts “contradict medical science and merely promote fear and hatred.”

“An AIDS diagnosis in Canada today is rare and highly treatable. Thanks to advancements in pharmaceuticals and medical treatment, PHAs (people living with HIV/AIDS) are now able to lead long, healthy and productive lives,” reads the release.

The ACO further argues that “HIV is a medical issue, not a legal one and Canadian law is not a replacement for a condom,” insisting that criminalization is not the answer.

There is still controversy about the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision that criminal action can be taken if HIV status is not disclosed, unless the amount in their system has been reduced by medication and a condom is used during intercourse.


Controversial HIV trial enters final stages

October 31, 2012
Source: Xtra

The accused in a controversial HIV trial has been found guilty of the attempted murder of three men, three counts of aggravated sexual assault and three counts of administering a noxious substance (ie, his semen). Steven Boone, 31, broke down in tears when the verdict was announced, telling his lawyer, Ian Carter, “There was no way I was trying to kill anyone.” The jury found Boone not guilty on two additional counts of aggravated sexual assault, as they could not find a “realistic possibility” that HIV might have been transmitted during oral sex with two men.


Oral sex HIV transmission theoretically possible, risk low, doctor tells court

October 22, 2012
Source: Metro News

The risk of contracting HIV through oral sex is so low that it’s difficult to assess, a doctor testified Wednesday in a trial of an HIV positive man accused of attempted murder. Dr. Mark Tyndall, head of infectious diseases department at the University of Ottawa, was the only witness to testify in the defence of Steven Boone.


HIV-positive Steven Boone told partner he was 'clean,' court hears

October 18, 2012
Source: Toronto Sun

He was just 17 and chatting with a friend about his new boyfriend while riding the #95 bus.

“Please tell me it’s not Steven Boone,” his friend, Boone’s former roommate, said. “You can’t have sex with him – he’s HIV-positive and has STDs up the wall.”

“My heart dropped,” the 20-year-old student tearfully recalled at the trial of the man accused of trying to kill him by infecting him with HIV.

After they met online, the conversation flowed.

Once they met in person, Boone penetrated him anally nine times during a week-long sexual relationship in January and February 2010.

Each time Boone confirmed he was “clean.” He never used a condom.

Confronted, Boone denied it then turned apologetic and finally, vicious, texting “ur going down, kid.”

In April, the teen discovered he was indeed HIV positive. He felt “lost.”

“I hadn’t even turned 18, I was still in high school,” he recalled. “I still had so much I wanted to do. It felt like it was just taken away because I had a lapse in judgment and decided to trust somebody.”

He decided the right thing to do was to go to police.

“If you do something like this you are no longer human,” he said.

A prosecutor alleged in her opening address the Crown can prove Boone infected the young man – although he admitted he had sex with five other men after Boone, one without a condom.

Boone, 30, is charged with attempted murder and administering a noxious substance – HIV – to three men. He’s also charged with aggravated sexual assault against two of the men and three others.

The Crown alleges Boone, who has pleaded not guilty, exposed his sex partners to a “realistic possibility of infection with a fatal disease” during sex from December 2009 to April 2010.

Two other men testified Wednesday to hooking up with Boone after meeting him online.

A 25-year-old man said he had mutual oral sex in a car with Boone, who said he was “clean.” He was contacted by police after Boone’s arrest in May 2010 and told to get tested.

A 26-year-old man testified he had anal intercourse once with Boone, who said he was “clean.” Boone willingly used a condom.

Then the man saw Boone’s picture online with the question, “Did you sleep with this man?” and felt “sick.”

“I was in shock,” he said.

The trial continues Thursday.


Accused threatened to charge lover who infected him with HIV

October 15, 2012
Source: Ottawa Sun

Self-described “poz vampire” Steven Boone was honest about having HIV with a man he’s accused of trying to infect.

But the man lied to him, telling Boone he didn’t have the virus, his trial on charges including attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault heard Monday.

The HIV-positive 24-year-old testified he was turned on by arousing Boone with the fantasy when they had unprotected anal sex twice in March 2010.

“He’s HIV positive and at that time he believes I’m HIV negative,” said the first of six men expected to testify about meeting Boone for sex.

Boone’s fantasy was “turning a boy poz and making him mine for life,” according to one text.

After Boone — who he dropped for being too “needy” — was in the news, the man admitted he lied to police, telling them that he had infected him.

“I didn’t have anyone to blame and I wanted to blame somebody,” he said. “He was just the easiest target.”

Boone, who has pleaded not guilty, is facing charges releated to incidents from December 2009 — a month after he learned he was infected — to April 2010.

In one graphic MSN chat heard Monday Boone bragged of “breeding” an 18-year-old “hottie” who Det. Ann Lapointe identified as one of his alleged victims.

“He’ll be poz now,” Boone says — although the teen ultimately tested negative.

He also says the only time he wears condoms is when he’s pierced holes in them during sex with “little condom Nazi boys.”

However it’s hard to tell the truth from fantasy in the chats, which don’t include Boone talking of killing anyone, defence lawyer Ian Carter put to Lapointe.

“During these hundreds of pages as part of that sexual fantasy of chasing, stealthing, pozzing or whatever you want to call it, he never indicates he wants to kill anyone?” Ian Carter asked her.

“That’s correct,” said Lapointe, noting Boone does talk about giving people HIV and people dying of the disease.

Boone is full of bitterness for the fiance who he says infected then dumped him.

He even threatens to have the man charged with attempted murder.

“I made the ultimate sacrifice for a guy I loved deeply,” Boone wrote in one MSN chat. “I risked EVERYTHING and I got nothing but a disease that causes most guys to turn away from me.

“I’m tired of being cast as the villain. I’m tired of being seen as someone who wants to cause harm to others.”


Man accused of spreading HIV gave details in online chats, court hears

October 12, 2012
Source: Toronto Sun

OTTAWA — Steven Boone said he loved to “stealth poz” sex partners — the youngest 15 — with HIV and gave graphic details about how to go about it.

He admitted to poking holes in condoms with partners who wanted to “play safe.” He talked of giving one “bug chaser” the “toothbrush treatment” to cause injury, increasing the risk of transmission.

He didn’t want to take medication to control his own HIV because “it’s harder to knock up boys if we’re non-toxic.”

Boone’s trial on charges including attempted murder and aggravated sex assault involving six victims heard dozens of graphic, sexual MSN chats on Friday.

The Crown alleges Boone, 30, used the virus as a weapon in his drive to infect unsuspecting sex partners – and succeeded with one.

The thousands of pages of chats span when Boone learned he was infected in Oct. 2009 — willingly by a fiance who immediately dumped him, he said — and his May 2010 arrest.

To negative men he wanted to have unprotected sex with, he was “clean” or HIV positive, but posed no risk because his viral load was “undetectable.”

To those who wanted to be infected, he was “very toxic.”

In several chats, he admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old — the same youth, the Crown alleges, who was actually infected — without telling him he’s HIV positive.

In one chat, Boone told a 15-year-old that HIV is “nothing to be scared of” — comparing it to diabetes — and most gay men want to be infected.

“I don’t want to, like, die,” the boy wrote.

“You won’t die,” Boone wrote. “HIV is no big deal.”

He apologized to a man who discovered he was HIV positive after they had sex.

“I’m really sorry – this is all still really new to me,” he wrote, describing himself as “a nice guy with a big heart.

“I just didn’t know how to tell you.”

Three days later, he wrote about “barebacking” with another man, insisting he’s “clean.”

Boone calls HIV an aphrodisiac.

“Being poz increases your sex drive,” he wrote. “It’s like a natural sexual enhancement.”

He talks about wanting to spread his “strain.”

“My DNA is in your veins forever,” Boone tells one partner. “Whenever I summon you, you must come.”

Boone was repeatedly warned in the chats.

“You know Steve that it is illegal to lie about your HIV status, right?” said one man, who later in the chat noted that people in Ontario have been charged with attempted murder for doing so.

“Yes, I’m aware of that,” Boone responded.


“Bug chasing” HIV positive man used his “toxicity” to try to kill sex partners: Crown

October 11, 2012
Source: Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — An HIV positive man accused of trying to kill his sex partners by deliberately infecting them with the disease boasted online about having unprotected sex with teenage virgins and tried to convince potential partners that condoms caused cancer, his attempted murder trial heard Thursday.

Steven Paul Boone also wrote in an online chat that he had “lost count” of how many HIV negative men he had sex with without telling them he had human immunodeficiency virus.

The online conversations were among approximately 3,000 pages of highly sexualized and graphic chats with 600 different people seized by police following Boone’s arrest in May 2010. Portions of the chats were entered into evidence on the first day of Boone’s trial on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and administering a noxious substance, namely, HIV.

In an opening address to a jury, prosecutor Louise Tansey-Miller said the chats were evidence Boone “was aroused by and deeply committed to achieving his goal of spreading HIV to his sexual partners.”

Boone, she alleged, was a member of a “disturbing” subculture called “bug chasing” where HIV-positive men seek out HIV-negative men to try to infect them with the disease.

Boone, 30, is accused of attempted murder and administering a noxious substance on three men. He is also accused of aggravated sexual assault on two of the same men along with three others.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In her opening address, Tansey-Miller alleged that Boone used sex, his own “toxicity” and deceit to try to infect as many people as possible with the potentially deadly disease.

Tansey-Miller said the Crown believes they can prove he infected one man, although a second man he is accused of sexually assaulting also contracted the disease.

A third alleged victim was already HIV positive before he met Boone, but allowed Boone to have unprotected sex with him as part of a fantasy, Tansey-Miller alleged.

All of the men willingly engaged in sex acts with Boone, Tansey-Miller alleged, although five of the six wouldn’t have agreed had they known Boone was HIV-positive.

“Mr. Boone intentionally acted in a way that he knew could result in the deaths of his sexual partners,” alleged Tansey-Miller. “He exposed all of his sexual partners to a realistic possibility of infection with a fatal disease. He tried and succeeded in endangering the lives of his sexual partners.

“This case is not about pointing the finger at someone because of their sexual orientation or because they have a terrible or terminal disease,” Tansey-Miller added. “Mr. Boone’s status as HIV-positive is important because this case is about Mr. Boone’s intention to surreptitiously infect as many sexual partners as he could with that fatal disease.”

The first day of the trial focused heavily on Boone’s MSN chats with men he met on gay websites.

In some of the conversations, Boone — who went by the name RoCkSt(*)r PrinCe — claims he is “clean.”

In others, he reveals he is HIV-positive and expressed a desire to infect others with his “strain” — whether they know it or not.

Sex with a condom was “too scary,” Boone told one man, because condoms caused cancer. Boone also claimed that condoms were going to be banned, something he said he knew because he was the Health Canada researcher who recommended it. He was actually unemployed.

Another conversation involved a man asking Boone to have sex with his boyfriend. The boyfriend wanted him to use a condom.

“I’ll let him think I’m using one and then take it off when he’s not looking,” replied Boone. “I’ve done it before.”

Another conversation focused on Boone’s desire to become HIV-positive.

All of the chats occurred after Boone found out he was HIV-positive on Oct. 30, 2009.

Earlier in the day, Boone’s former roommate, Matthew Baillie, testified his “mind was blown” when he learned in April 2010 that Boone wasn’t using protection.

Baillie said Boone had earlier messaged him that he had sex with a 17-year-old “over and over” without telling him about his status.

But Boone’s lawyer, Ian Carter, suggested that Boone was prone to exaggeration and making things up.

“I guess. Sometimes,” said Baillie.

The trial is expected to take four weeks.


Top court decision on HIV disclosure will be major issue in Ottawa attempted murder trial, lawyer says

October 9, 2012
Source: Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — Ambiguities in a landmark Supreme Court ruling that found HIV-positive people do not need to disclose their status if they have low viral loads and wear condoms will have a “direct impact” on the Ottawa jury trial of a man accused of trying to kill people by spreading the disease, his lawyer said Tuesday.

“The Supreme Court of Canada decision clarified when an individual is required to disclose his or her status,” said Steven Paul Boone’s defence lawyer, Ian Carter. “However, it did leave some ambiguity and I expect that is going to be a major issue in this trial. It’s what the Supreme Court of Canada didn’t say in their decision.”

Carter wouldn’t elaborate on what those ambiguities are and how they would affect the case.

Boone is accused of attempted murder and administering a noxious substance by allegedly attempting to infect three men with HIV between January and April 2010. Boone, 30, is also accused of aggravated sexual assault on two of the men and three others. Boone has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In a unanimous decision on two HIV-related cases, one from Winnipeg, the other from Montreal, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that someone living with the virus does not have to disclose their status to a sexual partner if they use a condom and have low viral loads. Should those conditions not be met, HIV-positive Canadians could still be charged with sexual assault, the court found.

The ruling revised a 1998 Supreme Court decision that first imposed the disclosure law and reinterpreted Canada’s laws around consensual sex.

Carter said the Supreme Court ruling is the “leading decision now on the law” and the Crown and defence will be leaning on it heavily.

Carter wouldn’t say how he thought the Supreme Court decision will affect Boone’s defence.

“It’s up to the jury,” he said.

Jury selection in the trial began Tuesday; the court is expected to start hearing evidence this week, possibly as early as Wednesday afternoon.

In their decision, the Supreme Court chose not to eliminate the disclosure requirements. The ruling said that so long as there remained a “realistic possibility of transmission of HIV” through unprotected sex, HIV poses a “significant risk of serious bodily harm” under the law and required disclosure.

Without disclosure, the law essentially negates any consensual sex and opens up the HIV individual to charges of aggravated assault and sexual assault.

While there is no cure for HIV, advances in modern medicine have made it manageable to live with the virus. Until the risk of transmission is zero — and some evidence suggests that is a possibility in cases where viral levels are undetectable — there remains “significant risk of serious bodily harm” under the law, the court said.

Legal experts accused the court of making the law tighter and criminalizing non-disclosure if there is a realistic possibility of transmission.

The court decided, “condom use is not fail-safe,” nor is anti-retroviral therapy “a safe-sex strategy.” That may change in the future, the court wrote, should science be able to render HIV non-communicable, or if modern medicine finds a cure for the disease.

— With files from Jordan Press, Postmedia News