SCC Case Information
Her Majesty the Queen v. D.C.
(Quebec) (Criminal) (By Leave)
(Publication ban in case) (Publication ban on party)
Case summaries are prepared by the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada (Law Branch) for information purposes only.
(PUBLICATION BAN IN CASE) (PUBLICATION BAN ON PARTY)
Criminal law — Offences — Elements of offence — Sexual assault — Aggravated assault — Whether consent vitiated where person with HIV does not disclose health status before having unprotected sex if person’s viral load, which can vary over time, is undetectable — Point at which risk becomes “significant” enough and harm becomes “serious” enough for conduct to be considered criminal — Application of R. v. Cuerrier,  2 S.C.R. 371.
The respondent C.D., who was HIV positive at the time, had unprotected sex with her former spouse, the complainant, without first informing him of her medical condition. C.D. was convicted of sexual assault and aggravated assault against her former spouse. The Court of Appeal acquitted her on the ground that, since her viral load had been undetectable during the entire period covered by the charges and the risk of transmission had therefore been very low, the fact that she had not disclosed her HIV positive status had not had the effect of exposing her former spouse to “a significant risk of serious harm” within the meaning of R. v. Cuerrier,  2 S.C.R. 371.