A 46 year-old bisexual Toronto man has become the second man in Canada to be charged with attempted murder following allegations that he did not disclose his HIV status before having unprotected sex.
According to a Toronto Police Service news release quoted on Xtra.ca
“the accused had unprotected sexual intercourse on multiple occasions after being informed that he was HIV-positive in March 2009” and that although the charges stem from sex the accused had with a woman “his partners may have been in both the gay and heterosexual communities.”
The Montreal Gazette quotes Constable Wendy Drummond, who provides an emotive, rather than legal, reason for the attempted murder charges.
“We’re dealing with somebody’s health. This could ultimately lead to somebody’s demise, to their death.”
The man actually faces one count each of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon – all of the charges are based on him not telling his female partner that he had recently tested HIV-positive and continuing to have unprotected sex with her.
As has become common practice amongst Canadian investigations, police have released a photo of the man, claiming public health interests. However, it is obviously a fishing expedition for more complainants (the more complainants, the more likely charges will stick).
CityNews.ca interprets this as follows:
Police allege that [the accused] is a menace to society. And even though they now have him in custody, they’re not sure everyone who had contact with him is still safe.
The 46-year-old (top left) is accused of having unprotected sex, despite knowing that he’d been diagnosed with HIV last March. As a result, authorities have charged him with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.
Cops know of at least one person who had sexual contact with him without knowing his status. But they say [he] was known to hang around in Toronto’s gay and straight communities, and they’re worried he may have had similar relationships with people who may not be aware of his past.
If he’s crossed your path, seek medical treatment as soon as possible, and contact police at (416) xxx-xxxx or Crime Stoppers at (416) xxx-xxxx.
Interestingly, however, the Montreal Gazette story doesn’t buy it. Although they quote Constable Drummond…
“We make their names and images known to the public out of concern that they may have had relations with other people, and may have infected other people.”
…they also include the counterpoint of Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
“Police say they’re public safety notices,” he said. “But it’s a police tactic. They’re using the releases as an investigative tool, to build a case against the accused.”
What’s worse, he said, is that actions like this feed into the “very persistent stigma related to HIV and people with it. It creates this image of a person with HIV as a public-health menace. This just perpetuates the misinformation, fear, hysteria and prejudice that has always surrounded HIV.”
RALLY IN OTTAWA, CANADA
In response to this, and other draconian measures taken by police and prosecutors against HIV-positve individuals, a grassroots collision of concerned community groups and individuals in Ottawa, fuelled by anger, and inspired by hope, have come together to condemn the criminalization of HIV. They will be rallying in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, next Wednesday June 10th 2009, between 12:30pm – 1:30pm, meeting at Parliament Hill in front of the eternal flame.
For more information visit their the Facebook event page: Stop The Criminalization of HIV Positive People!