Canada: Supreme court dismisses appeal in case of blood donation

Appeal lost

R. v. Thornton, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 445

June 4, 1993
Source: Supreme Court of Canada

Criminal law ‑‑ Nuisance ‑‑ Accused convicted of nuisance for donating blood he knew to be HIV‑contaminated to Red Cross ‑‑ Accused having duty of care in giving blood under s. 216 of Criminal Code ‑‑ Duty of care breached by failure to disclose that blood contained HIV antibodies ‑‑ Lives, safety and health of public endangered ‑‑ Conviction upheld.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal (1991), 1 O.R. (3d) 480, 42 O.A.C. 206, 3 C.R. (4th) 381, dismissing the accused’s appeal from his conviction by Flanigan Dist. Ct. J. (1989), 8 W.C.B. (2d) 156, on a charge of committing a nuisance.  Appeal dismissed.

The judgment of the Court was delivered orally by

LAMER C.J. ‑‑ We are all of the view that this appeal fails.  Section 216 imposed upon the appellant a duty of care in giving his blood to the Red Cross.  This duty of care was breached by not disclosing that his blood contained HIV antibodies.  This common nuisance obviously endangered the life, safety and health of the public.