R. v. Cuerrier (H.G.), [1999] 4 WWR 1

JudgeMcLachlin, Major, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateSeptember 03, 1998
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations[1999] 4 WWR 1;[1998] CarswellBC 1772;18 CR (5th) 1;111 BCAC 1;127 CCC (3d) 1;[1998] ACS no 64;(1998), 229 N.R. 279 (SCC);[1998] SCJ No 64 (QL);229 NR 279;181 WAC 1;162 DLR (4th) 513;57 BCLR (3d) 42;39 WCB (2d) 321;[1998] 2 SCR 371;1998 CanLII 796 (SCC)

R. v. Cuerrier (H.G.) (1998), 229 N.R. 279 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Temp. Cite: [1998] N.R. TBEd. SE.003

Her Majesty The Queen (appellant) v. Henry Gerard Cuerrier (respondent) and The Attorney General for Ontario, The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, The Canadian AIDS Society, Persons with AIDS Society of British Columbia and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (intervenors)

(25738)

Indexed As: R. v. Cuerrier (H.G.)

Supreme Court of Canada

L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory,

McLachlin, Major, Bastarache

and Binnie, JJ.

September 3, 1998.

Summary:

The accused, knowing he was HIV posi­tive, had unprotected consensual sexual intercourse with the complainants, but with­out disclosing his state of health. He was charged with and acquitted of two counts of aggravated assault. The Crown appealed the acquittals.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal, in a judgment reported 83 B.C.A.C. 295; 136 W.A.C. 295, dismissed the appeal. The court ruled against the criminalization of behaviour creating the risk of HIV transmission. The court held that the criminal law of assault was not the proper legal mechanism for dealing with this problem. The Crown appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal and remitted the matter for trial. The court held that an accused's concealment or nondisclosure that he was HIV-positive would constitute fraud vitiating consent where there was a "significant risk of serious bodily harm" and the Crown proved that the complainants would have refused unprotected sex had they known the accused was HIV-positive.

Criminal Law - Topic 1415

Offences against person and reputation - Assaults - Aggravated assault - [See Criminal Law - Topic 1422 ].

Criminal Law - Topic 1422

Offences against person and reputation - Assaults - Defences - Consent - Section 265(3)(c) of the Criminal Code provided that for all forms of assault no consent was obtained where the complainant submitted or did not resist by reason of "fraud" - The accused, knowing that he was HIV-posi­tive, had unprotected sex with two female complainants, subjecting them to the risk of contracting AIDS - The accused did not disclose his health condition to either complainant - The Supreme Court of Canada held that "fraud" vitiating consent was no longer limited to fraud relating to the "nature and quality of the act" - Fraud required "dishonesty" (including nondisclosure of important facts) and "deprivation" (including a risk of depri­vation) - An accused's concealment or failure to disclose his HIV-positive status constituted fraud vitiating consent where there was a "significant risk of serious bodily harm" and the Crown proved that the complainants would have refused un­protected sex with the accused had they known he was HIV-positive - The court rejected the submission that any fraud "designed to induce the complainant to submit" was sufficient to vitiate consent and constitute an assault - See paragraphs 19 to 63.

Criminal Law - Topic 2001

Fraudulent transactions - Fraud - What constitutes - [See Criminal Law - Topic 1422 ].

Words and Phrases

Fraud - The Supreme Court of Canada defined "fraud" as used in s. 265(3)(c) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46 - See paragraphs 19 to 63.

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Thornton, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 445; 154 N.R. 243; 64 O.A.C. 163, refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Ssenyonga (1993), 81 C.C.C.(3d) 257 (Ont. Gen. Div.), not folld. [para. 9].

R. v. Petrozzi (1987), 35 C.C.C.(3d) 528 (B.C.C.A.), not folld. [para. 11].

R. v. Jobidon, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 714; 128 N.R. 321; 49 O.A.C. 83, refd to. [para. 12].

Norberg v. Wynrib, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 226; 138 N.R. 81; 9 B.C.A.C. 1; 19 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 15].

R. v. Clarence (1888), 22 Q.B.D. 23, not folld. [para. 21].

R. v. Bolduc, [1967] S.C.R. 677, refd to. [para. 22].

R. v. Maurantonia, [1968] 1 O.R. 145 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 23].

In re London and Globe Finance Corp., [1903] 1 Ch. 728, refd to. [para. 35].

Scott v. Metropolitan Police Commis­sioner, [1975] A.C. 819 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 36].

R. v. Olan, Hudson and Hartnett, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 1175; 21 N.R. 504, refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Théroux (R.), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 5; 151 N.R. 104; 54 Q.A.C. 184; 79 C.C.C.(3d) 449, refd to. [para. 38].

R. v. Brasso Datsun (Calgary) Ltd. (1977), 39 C.R.N.S. 1 (Alta. T.D.), refd to. [para. 39].

R. v. Zlatic (Z.), [1993] 2 S.C.R. 29; 151 N.R. 81; 54 Q.A.C. 161; 79 C.C.C. 466, refd to. [para. 39].

State v. Lankford (1917), 102 A. 63 (Del. Ct. Gen. Sess.), refd to. [para. 43].

Kathleen K. v. Robert B. (1984), 198 Cal. Rptr. 273 (Ct. App.), refd to. [para. 43].

R. v. Bennett (1866), 4 F. & F. 1105; 176 E.R. 925, refd to. [para. 44].

R. v. Sinclair (1867), 13 Cox C.C. 28, refd to. [para. 45].

R. v. Nikal (J.B.), [1996] 1 S.C.R. 1013; 196 N.R. 1; 74 B.C.A.C. 161; 121 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 60].

R. v. Burden (1981), 25 C.R.(3d) 283 (B.C.C.A.), refd to. [para. 83].

R. v. Hinchey (M.F.) and Hinchey (B.A.), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 1128; 205 N.R. 161; 147 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 1; 459 A.P.R. 1, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. McIntosh (B.B.), [1995] 1 S.C.R. 686; 178 N.R. 161; 79 O.A.C. 81; 95 C.C.C.(3d) 481, refd to. [para. 110].

R. v. Deruelle, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 663; 139 N.R. 56; 114 N.S.R.(2d) 1; 313 A.P.R. 1, refd to. [para. 110].

Marcotte v. Canada (Deputy Attorney General), [1976] 1 S.C.R. 108; 3 N.R. 613, refd to. [para. 110].

Watkins v. Olafson et al., [1989] 2 S.C.R. 750; 100 N.R. 161; 61 Man.R.(2d) 81; 61 D.L.R.(4th) 577, refd to. [para. 115].

R. v. Salituro, [1991] 3 S.C.R. 654; 131 N.R. 161; 50 O.A.C. 125; 68 C.C.C.(3d) 289, refd to. [para. 115].

R. v. Seaboyer and Gayme, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 577; 128 N.R. 81; 48 O.A.C. 81; 66 C.C.C.(3d) 321, refd to. [para. 115].

Child and Family Services of Winnipeg Northwest v. D.F.G., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 925; 219 N.R. 241; 121 Man.R.(2d) 241; 158 W.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 115].

Bow Valley Husky (Bermuda) Ltd. v. Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd. et al., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1210; 221 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 115].

Schachter v. Canada et al., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 679; 139 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 120].

R. v. Maurantonio, [1968] 1 O.R. 145 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 131].

R. v. Dee (1884), 14 L.R. Ir. 468, refd to. [para. 134].

R. v. Flattery (1877), 2 Q.B.D. 410 (C.R.R.), refd to. [para. 134].

Hegarty v. Shine (1878), 14 Cox C.C. 145, refd to. [para. 135].

R. v. Case (1850), 1 Den. 580; 169 E.R. 381 (C.R.R.), refd to. [para. 136].

R. v. Linekar, [1995] 3 All E.R. 69 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 140].

R. v. Mercer (R.H.) (1993), 110 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 41; 346 A.P.R. 41; 84 C.C.C.(3d) 41 (Nfld. C.A.), refd to. [para. 146].

Statutes Noticed:

Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, sect. 143, sect. 149, sect. 244 [para. 78]; sect. 265(1)(a) [paras. 18, 78, 99]; sect. 265(2), sect. 265(3) [paras. 18, 78, 99]; sect. 268 [paras. 18, 99].

Interpretation Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21, sect. 45(2) [para. 109].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Boyle, Christine L.M., Sexual Assault (1984), pp. 27, 28, 29 [para. 76]; 66 [para. 30].

Boyle, Christine L.M., The Judicial Con­struction of Sexual Assault Offences, in J.V. Roberts and R.M. Mohr, eds., Confronting Sexual Assault: A Decade of Legal and Social Change (1994), p. 146 [para. 88].

Criminal Law Revision Committee on Sexual Offences, Fifteenth Report (Cmdn 9213), generally [para. 140].

Dwyer, John M., Legislating AIDS Away: The Limited Role of Legal Persuasion in Minimizing the Spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (1993), 9 J. Contempt Health L. & Pol'y 167, gen­erally [para. 127].

Elliot, R., Criminal Law and HIV/AIDS: Final Report (March 1997), generally [para. 127].

Great Britian, Law Commission Consulta­tion Paper No. 134, Criminal Law: Con­sent and Offences against the Person (1994), pp. 51, 52 [para. 88].

Halsbury's Laws of England (4th Ed. 1990), vol. 11(1), para. 494 [para. 102].

Health Canada Laboratory, Oral Contra­ceptive and Condom Use, in STD Epi Update (November 1977), generally [para. 70].

Health Canada, AIDS and HIV in Canada, in HIV/AIDS Epi Update (November 1977), generally [para. 70].

Holland, Winnifred H., HIV/AIDS and the Criminal Law (1994), 36 Crim. L.Q. 279, pp. 283 [para. 52]; 288 [para. 67]; 297, 298 [para. 28].

Kenney, Stephen V., Criminalizing HIV Transmissions: Lessons from History and a Model for the Future (1992), 8 J. Con­tempt. Health L. & Pol'y 245, generally [para. 127].

Mewett, Alan W., and Manning, Morris, Criminal Law (2nd Ed. 1985), pp. 596, 597 [para. 30].

Mewett, Alan W., and Manning, Morris, Criminal Law (3rd Ed. 1994), pp. 789 [para. 80]; 790 [para. 92].

McGinnis, Janice Dicken, Law and the Leprosies of Lust: Regulating Syphilis and AIDS (1990), 22 Ottawa L. Rev. 49, p. 59 [para. 127].

Smith, John Cyril, and Hogan, Brian, Criminal Law (4th Ed. 1978), p. 355 [para. 102].

Stephen, Sir James FitzJames, A History of the Criminal Law of England (1883), vol. 2, pp. 121, 122 [para. 34].

Tierney, T.W., Criminalizing the Sexual Transmission of HIV: An International Analysis (1992), 15 Hastings Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 475, generally [para. 127].

United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Vital and Health Statistics: Fertility, Family Planning, and Women's Health -- New Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (May 1977), Series 23, No. 19, generally [para. 70].

Watt, David, The New Offences Against the Person (1984), pp. 216 to 219, 220 [para. 30].

Counsel:

William F. Ehrcke, Q.C., for the appellant;

Douglas J. Stewart and Todd A. McKendrick, for the respondent;

Renee M. Pomerance, for the intervener, the Attorney General for Ontario;

John G. Dives and Harbans K. Dhillon, for the intervener, B.C. Civil Liberties As­sociation;

Marlys Edwardh and Richard Elliot, for the interveners, Canadian AIDS Society, Persons with AIDS Society of British Columbia and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

Solicitors of Record:

Ministry of the Attorney General, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the appellant;

Douglas J. Stewart, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the respondent;

Ministry of the Attorney General, Toronto, Ontario, for the Attorney General for Ontario;

Bull, Housser & Tupper, Vancouver, British Columbia, for the intervener, the British Columbia Civil Liberties As­sociation;

Goodman & Carr, Toronto, Ontario, and Iler, Campbell, Klippenstein, Toronto, Ontario, for the interveners, Canadian Aids Society, Persons with Aids Society of British Columbia and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

This appeal was heard on March 27, 1998, before L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Major, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On September 3, 1998, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered in both official languages and the following opinions were filed:

Cory, J. (Major, Bastarache and Binnie, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 72;

L'Heureux-Dubé, J. - see paragraphs 73 to 95;

McLachlin, J. (Gonthier, J., concurring) - see paragraphs 96 to 148.

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