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Man charged with sexual assault failed to disclose HIV status

The laws of this country were written to be as clear as possible and leave little doubt as to their application. However, there are some laws that leave themselves open to interpretation. Determining guilt or innocence can be difficult in such situations. For an Ontario man facing sexual assault charges, a vague set of parameters may be the difference between conviction and freedom.

A 20-year old Burlington man was arrested and charged for sex crimes on August 15, 2016. The arrest was carried out by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. The accused is a civilian army cadet instructor at Canadian Forces Base Borden near Barrie, Ontario. In total, he is facing four charges of aggravated assault for failing to disclose his positive HIV status.

The accused is alleged to have carried on a sexual relationship with someone serving in the Canadian Armed Forces without informing his partner of his condition. According to Canadian law, it is illegal to conceal one's HIV-positive status from a partner prior to engaging in sexual activity, but only if a "realistic possibility" of infection exists. The definition of "possibility" varies depending on the type of sexual activity and the severity of the infection in the carrier, and there is no specific level of infection given.

Challenging days are ahead for this young man, despite the vague nature of the law. A sexual assault accusation is a heavy burden for anyone to bear. It is an unenviable situation, but the help of an Ontario criminal defence team may lighten the load.

Source: National Post, "Ontario cadet instructor charged with sexual assault for not disclosing HIV status", Laura Hensley, August 17, 2016

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