This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s posting, “Ontario Crown Prosecutors on Witch-Hunt”.
The HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario), better known as HALCO, and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, are intervening in the two HIV non-disclosure cases at the Ontario Court of Appeal. Both these organizations have worked on the criminalization issue for almost two decades, and bring significant legal expertise and community perspectives to this work.
For this reason, the Court of Appeal for Ontario granted them “intervenor” status in the case, which allows them to make legal arguments to the court, both in writing and orally at the hearing.
Here is an overview of the argument that HALCO and the Legal Network put forward in their written submissions to the court:
- First, they argue that the role of the criminal law in addressing HIV non-dislcsure should be limited, since any use of the criminal law calls for caution and restraint.
- Second, the overly broad use of the criminal law threatens the HIV testing and other public health initiatives that have proven to modify behaviour that risks transmitting HIV.
- Third, disclosure is an intensely personal and difficult undertaking, complicated by factors such as potential abuse and violence, and fear of disclosure by sexual partners, which can often lead to stigma and discrimination. The overly broad use of the criminal law against people living with HIV only makes HIV disclosure more difficult.
If you haven’t had a chance to do so, please email Ontario Attorney General John Gerretson and Premier Dalton McGuinty. Tell them to stop the witch-hunt against people living with HIV. Tell them they are putting lives at risk and sacrificing justice at the feet of prejudice and ignorance. Stop them before they turn back the clock on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and turn their back on people living with HIV. Email them today, before it is too late! firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com.