Ending Unjust HIV Prosecutions in British Columbia: Modernizing prosecutorial policy

Submission to the Attorney General of British Columbia
January 2019

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submits this brief to supplement previous correspondence and submissions to the Honourable David Eby, Attorney General of British Columbia, for the purpose of assisting with the development of a directive from the Attorney General to the British Columbia Prosecution Service that appropriately limits the use of criminal charges to prosecute allegations of HIV non-disclosure, potential or perceived exposure, or transmission. In particular, this brief:

• provides commentary on specific aspects of the current policy of the BC Prosecution Service that require substantive revision and improvement; and
• sets out a number of specific elements that should be reflected in a directive from the Attorney General.

As noted in previous submissions, the continued overly broad use of the criminal law in cases of alleged HIV non-disclosure, including serious charges such as aggravated sexual assault, leads to unjust prosecutions, further stigmatizes people living with HIV, and creates additional barriers to people seeking testing and treatment. As we have laid out in previous correspondence and submissions, there are good scientific, public health and human rights rationales for ending the overly broad and unjust use of the criminal law in relation to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission in Canada.