View Full Version : The case of Charles Ssenyonga, AIDS and the law.


Undecided
04-27-04, 04:20 PM
This is my rough draft for my law course on a very interesting case in Canadian law. I would really like to hear what you have to think:


Charles Ssenyonga, Spreading AIDS and its legal consequences.

Intro: The sensational case of Charles Ssenyonga is Canada’s most famous AIDS related case. The case was important to the development of Canadian justice because it dealt with a modern phenomenon like HIV/AIDS against the rights and freedoms of the individual. It also raises many ethical dilemmas for our society. Should HIV/AIDS patients be marked out? Should we ban immigration to those who have HIV/AIDS? The case of Ssenyonga is important because it outlined the limits of our legal system. The Ssenyonga case caused much emotional outbursts from the community, Mr. Ssenyonga did not legally have to tell the women that he was infected with the AIDS, the women [freely] consented to the sex, there was no actus reus for the accused to be charged on, and Mr.Ssenyonga did have the Mens Rea to actually commit a crime. Although a moral and ethical outrage, Mr.Ssenyonga did not break the laws of Canada.

Para 1: The case of Ssenyonga is really one of consent, and ignorance. Prior to the Sseyonga case was the R v Lee case in which a bisexual partner had consensual sex with a woman, Lee at the time was also having sex with a male who was HIV positive. The crown stated that complainant's consent was vitiated and nullified by fraud because the accused had failed to inform her that he was HIV-positive. The premise being that the trust between the two was not based on reality. The crown wanted to show that the accused should have told the woman he was HIV positive. The outcome according to the court set a vital precedent for the Ssenyonga case; “…The Court held that, although the accused might have suspected that he was HIV-positive, there was no evidence before the Court that he knew for a fact that he was HIV positive at the time of the alleged offence.” This does imply that the carrier has to tell the victim that he/she has the disease if they did know. For Ssenyonga he knew that he was HIV positive at the time of intercourse with women. In 1990 Ssenyonga was told not to have sex with others due to the fact he had HIV. There were complaints by several women that Mr.Ssenyonga had given them AIDS. Thus Toronto Public Health told Mr.Ssenyonga not to engage in sexual intercourse. But this has no enforceable legal jurisdiction on the patient. He continued to have AIDS with unsuspecting women saying, “…pursued by sex-crazed women whom he was obliged to accomodate to spare them embarrassment." At the trial Ssenyonga said that he was not aware that he had AIDS during the time of intercourse with the victims. “he couldn't understand that anything was wrong with him due to a mental disorder… The mental condition could have been caused in part by the disturbing news that he had contracted the deadly virus.” This mental disorder being post-traumatic stress disorder, in which one is so traumatized by their circumstances they are able to reject reality. But the crowns witness contradicted this statement made by Dr.Hill. “…a report from a Crown-ordered psychiatric examination concluded that Ssenyonga was not suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Ssenyonga did not exactly forget he was infected with HIV while having sex with the three women, Dr. Langevin testified during cross examination by Beasley, "but it's not available to his memory at that time. He's telling himself, 'I'm normal; I'm healthy; I have no symptoms; look at me." That was enough to show that Mr.Ssenyonga could not have told the victims of his disease. He was psychologically impaired to the point where he was unable to tell the victims that he was infected. The former precedent of R v. Lee in which one had to tell the other of his disease was thrown out.

Para 2: It becomes a very poignant ethical question, should those who infect others with AIDS keeping the consenting partner ignorant of this disease be charged with aggravated assault? Section 268 of the Code provides that a person commits an aggravated assault when he or she wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of a complainant…"assault" is defined in s 265 of the Code: a person commits an assault when, without the consent of another person, he or she applies force intentionally to the other person, directly or indirectly. The consenting adults who had sex with Mr. Ssenyonga were many; “OPP Officer Terry Hall tallied 17 people
infected by Ssenyonga, including one male! One of the victims, Francine
Dalton, estimated that 100 people had been infected during Ssenyonga's 10 years in Canada”. Mr.Ssenyonga though could not be charged with aggravated assault because the infected did consent to his sexual advances. As shown according to the Criminal Code in order for one to be charged with aggravated assault one must have forced their will onto a non-consensual situation. This was not present at the case of Mr.Ssenyonga. The crown stated as they did in the R v. Lee case that consent was void due to the fact that the consenter did not realize that the accused had a disease. The crowns motion was itself nullified; “McDermid J ruled that the purpose of the offence of aggravated sexual assault was to control the non-consensual direct or indirect application of force by one person on another. In this case, all three complainants had consented to the application of force inherent in sexual intercourse.” Thus Ssenyonga could not have been charged with assaulting these three women. Since he was incapable of telling the women that he had AIDS, this line of logic held no water. Also Fraud charges which were brought were thrown out as well because Mr.Sseyonga because more debate was needed as to how to deal with this charge. The judge stated; “purpose of section 265 is to control the non-consensual direct or indirect application of force by one person on another, and not to control the transmission of HIV and the spread of AIDS.” This was because the judge believed this to be a public policy issue and one that should be dealt with the legislature. To the women a very dramatic statement was made on how they conducted themselves in light of Mr.Ssenyonga’s disease. "given the dangers of unprotected sex, ... a much longer period of trust was required. ... The applicants' behaviour contributed to the injuries sustained." This was quite a statement made about the women’s conduct. Although this was not a verdict with any jurisdiction it would have placed much of the responsibility on the victims’ themselves.

Para 3: By far the most important and potentially most damaging claim would have been the Murder charge. Although this was not present at the trial, it could have been. Should those who transmit AIDS to an unwitting victim be convicted of murder? In the case of Mr.Ssenyonga it is a complex idea. Mr.Sseyonga did not have the mens rea to actually commit murder. He also stated that he did not see AIDS as a death sentence to the women;” but said he had not thought about the inevitable deaths of the women he allegedly infected.” He did not think about the consequences of his actions. Mr.Ssenyonga himself did not seem to even realize that he had AIDS during intercourse with these women. The courts were going to convict Mr.Ssenyonga with criminal negligence. But he died prior to his verdict being read out. According to the criminal code being negligent is when an individual “shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives of safety of other persons.” Mr.Sssenyonga did show this in his actions, but is this enough? Mr.Ssenyonga has given officially three women in Canada HIV/AIDS, which is a deadly disease. One can reasonably assume that Mr.Ssenyonga could be convicted with murder under strict liability in which one does not have to prove mens rea to commit a crime. Mr.Ssenyonga did threaten the community; he broke the communities trust after the 1990 warning. Under strict liability it must shown that it is a “public welfare” crime. He had sex with at least 17 persons in Canada, knowing he was infected with a disease. Although reasonable doubt does exist as to whether or not he knew, there is no definite conclusion on his post traumatic stress disorder defence. The Supreme court of Canada has stated that sec.265 of the Code does affect those who spread AIDS:”…an individual who knows he is HIV-positive and has unprotected sexual intercourse without disclosing this condition to his partner may be found guilty of contravening the provisions of s. 265 of the Criminal Code.” This shows that this is beyond mere negligence, this is a serious crime. Unlike normal sexual assault cases, this case deals a disease that is a proven killer. He may have not committed the classic murder, he still sealed the fate of at least 3 women. He has threatened at least 17 different individuals while in Canada, which represents a threat to our society. Mr.Ssenyonga should have been charged with at least 3rd degree murder charges.

Conclusion: The case of R v.Ssenyonga would have set a precedent in Canadian law in which one could be charged merely with Criminal negligence.

Should he and other have been charged with murder? Is it the victims fault? Is society threatened by persons like him? What should we do about it?

zanket
04-27-04, 10:13 PM
If Ssenyonga willingly & knowingly & with sound mind threatened the life of another, then he attempted murder at least. No doubt the murder law was already written in a comprehensive way that implicitly included communicable diseases. There need not have been a law that specifically required Ssenyonga to inform his partners of his disease. His mental condition sounds like a lie.

laughing weasel
05-02-04, 11:30 AM
It is manslaughter at the very least.

Pablo Savey
05-17-04, 10:30 PM
If you are having sex, unprotected sex, it up to you to find out if the person is HIV postive. Unless you are suicidal then have unprotected with every person in the tri-county area.

zanket
05-18-04, 12:46 AM
Sorry, it's not up to you. That's like saying it's up to a woman to know her date is not a rapist.

Pablo Savey
05-19-04, 09:58 AM
Sure it is up to a woman to find if her date is it rapist, unless she wanted to get rape.

zanket
05-19-04, 10:17 PM
As much as she may want to know, knowing is impossible. So no, it's not up to her.

Pablo Savey
05-20-04, 09:32 AM
Sounds like your an expert in this field. With all this search capabilities on the web one can find personal info on certain individuals.

zanket
05-20-04, 11:41 AM
No, it's just a fact that you can't know what is in someone else's head. The law doesn't require you to know what you can't know.

Pablo Savey
05-21-04, 09:07 AM
Ignorance of the law is not a defence

zanket
05-21-04, 06:51 PM
How is that relevant?

Undecided
05-21-04, 07:11 PM
It's not it's Pablo Savey...

Pablo Savey
05-31-04, 09:57 AM
Undecided: Your undecidied

StarOfEight
05-31-04, 10:05 AM
Pablo, by that "logic," somebody who's at a bank during a robbery and gets shot is at fault.

Pablo Savey
06-01-04, 01:19 PM
Yes, because the person should be on the ground, making peace with whatever god/ spiritual force they are alligned with.

geistkiesel
06-04-04, 02:46 PM
This is my rough draft for my law course on a very interesting case in Canadian law. I would really like to hear what you have to think:



Should he and other have been charged with murder? Is it the victims fault? Is society threatened by persons like him? What should we do about it?

This is my rough draft for my law course on a very interesting case in Canadian law. I would really like to hear what you have to think:

Should he and other have been charged with murder? Is it the victims fault? Is society threatened by persons like him? What should we do about it?


http://aidsmyth.addr.com/index1.htm

The link is just a starter. Do you beleive that defendants charged with some form of assault associated with a so called "AIDS infection" scenario shouldhave an opportunity to defend against the assumption that HIV causes AIDS? Like putting the burden on the state to prove that 1) HIV exists and that 2) HIV causes AIDS?

NO society is threatened by robotic legal scholars like yourself who, at a extremely early aart of your ledgal existence, you have obsessively latched onto a classic fascist mechanism that is designed to avoid the inefficient "technicalities" of constitutional limitation of state power, including limiting of judicial power that has assumed that the "probabilities" of the existence of an extremely harmful situation justifies invoking "emergency exceptions" to the unacceptable exercise of constituional power of the the state, Cbnada, that seems bent on making an example of the defendant described by yourseklf as having committed so insidiously heinous series of criminal acts as to be undeserving of justice othewise meted out daily to ordinary murderers, rapists, arsonists, and attornies.
I think we should educate the judiciary to the fact that it is primarily the statwe that has defined the HIV = AIDS scienario. It is the state defining therapy and other forms of activity directed at the AIDS masses, victims, industry and propaganda processes.. It is the FDA (in the US) that publically pescribes medicines for those testing positive for the HIV.
Did you know that the 'HIV test for AIDS' is a test for a partial segment of protein (a DNA segment) sequence alleged to be from the anti-body to HIV? And where the DNA segment is common to a half dozen non-AIDS diseases? DId you know the standards for the HIV test are disastrously flawed? That lives have bneen trashed, suicides committed for the simple fact of having been informed that one is "HIV positve"? Did you know that (in the US) there is no federal research money used to determine the cause of AIDS? Everybody knows HIV causes AIDS, right?

Do you realize that YOU have have never been presented with a coherent and unambiguous proof that HIV causes AIDS, yet YOU do believe that HIV causes AIDS, is this not correct? You ask "should he and others be charged with murder?" Are you going to assume his causal relationship with death by virtue of he having allegedly infected others with deadly and insidious disease without any direct or indirect proof that HIV exists and that HIV causes AIDS?

If 90 virologists testify that in their opinion HIV causes AIDS and 10 virologists testify that HIV dioes not exist and/or does not cause AIDS ,is this competent expert testimony sufficient to trash a human beings life?

Are you absolutely sure, to a moral certainty, that HIV causes AIDS, beyond any reasonable doubt? If so then you can prove the matter can you not?

You ask what we think about this and what should we do about it? First, I think you had best learn to think like an attorney and not pile heaps of assumed garbage upon the persons you have already convicted before their trial. What would be his defense if you were defending him? Would you ask that the state prove all elements of the crime the idefendant is charged with including the existence of HIV, the causal link between HIV and AIDS in general and the specific causal link between HIV, AIDS, the defendant and any alleged victims, [that he alleges is infected]? Or would you " stipiulate" to the common knowedge assumption that HIV causes AIDS and throw your client on the mercy of an outaged jury??

There is an old joke" What would be a relkly good start? Amswer: 1000 attornies on the bottom of the ocean.

Now you know why I can tell this joke with zeal and enthusiasm. What you showed me in your thread is that you are the problem. A confessed and unmitigated burden on society without any redeeming human chracteristics or qualities, including the one that does not condemn those charged with criminal activty before ther trial. Buit you talk so sure of yourself and all the assumptions you have piled upon the man that has not committed even the simplest act of any kind o assaulyt/]. Do you disagree with me? I enter a plea of not guilty on behalf of he defedant. Now prosecutor man, prove your case, every single element of the charges you have stacked against him. You strike me as a typical "herd instinct judicial robot". Are you aware of theThird Reichs program to purify the society by eliminating those and other medically defined mental defects, insane, terminally ill etc. summarily?

If you think this post is unfair to you and your honest intentions, your honest modernly heartfelt sensibilities, your honest intelligence, honest medical knowedge, your innocent and most well meaning act of bringing the matter to our attention witout the slightest hint, pretense or attempt at objectivity, well if it is unfair, and admittedly it is unfair, then so be it Mr. Undecided and may god have mercy on your soul as I finally now ask, "who has a proper length of rope for Mr Undecided's scrawny useless neck?"

BigBlueHead
06-04-04, 02:49 PM
GEISTKIESEL

Get back to the AIDS thread, bitch! These guys are talking about the law. Stop bothering them with your crap.

Undecided
06-04-04, 03:12 PM
geistkiesel[i]

I am happy you responded with such zeal and enthusiasm, but you are talking about something that is implied. To the “uneducated” masses of which I am part of seems to believe that HIV does cause AIDS. I am not a scientist, nor am I a lawyer. This was my position with the Ssenyonga case. The case was not so much about AIDS, like I said in my essay the point of this cause was more about [i] The case of Ssenyonga is really one of consent, and ignorance. To me it dosen’t matter what disease Mr.Ssenyonga had that is largely irrelevant. What concerns me and society at large is the failure of Ssenyonga to disclose his disease to his sexual partners. Especially after being told that he should not have sexual intercourse any longer. AIDS is merely the disease, not the issue.

Buit you talk so sure of yourself and all the assumptions you have piled upon the man that has not committed even the simplest act of any kind o assaulyt/]. Do you disagree with me?

Well I don’t think I am what you described me to be, but I agree that Ssenyonga did not commit assault. I never insinuated otherwise. I realize that the women had consented to the sex, and as a result were just as responsible as Mr.Ssenyonga. But that doesn’t mean that Mr.Sseyonga did not commit a serious crime. I think that he committed at least manslaughter he gave these women a deadly disease (I realize AIDS doesn’t kill you, but it does weaken your immune system).

Now prosecutor man, prove your case, every single element of the charges you have stacked against him.

I don’t have to, it is stated above.

Are you aware of theThird Reichs program to purify the society by eliminating those and other medically defined mental defects, insane, terminally ill etc. summarily?

Yes operation T4, but I don’t see what relevance that has to do with anything here. You don’t contract retardation.

If you think this post is unfair to you and your honest intentions,

I think the ad hom attacks were truly uncalled for, you only depreciate your case when you state things like: "who has a proper length of rope for Mr Undecided's scrawny useless neck?" If you really want me to take you serious as a poster, act like one. Also if you are here to merely cause shit like BigBlueHead seems to indicate, refrain from posting.

laughing weasel
06-05-04, 08:43 PM
If I released a biological weapon like anthrax I would be charged with murder and about twenty other crimes how is what he did any different? He knew that he had the disease and that he should refrain from having sex with non-infected partners without informing them. When he denied them the same information that he had he took away their right to make an informed decision. That is why he deserves to be charged because the lack of that information endangered other people’s lives.

StarOfEight
06-06-04, 12:47 AM
If I released a biological weapon like anthrax I would be charged with murder and about twenty other crimes how is what he did any different? He knew that he had the disease and that he should refrain from having sex with non-infected partners without informing them. When he denied them the same information that he had he took away their right to make an informed decision. That is why he deserves to be charged because the lack of that information endangered other people’s lives.


Exactly, Weasel.

robtex
06-06-04, 10:47 AM
Aside from the legal aruguements it could not be argued that Charles is a menace to society. His continued interaction with society will cause more death. Period. Irregardless of what his motives justifications, rationalizatins or his reasoning is his continued existance in society will result in him killing more of his neigbors. Legally, I do not know either what he has committed or what the sanctions are for it, but ethically, permenant seperation from the rest of society is in the overall good to society. Non-seperation, and the decsions are mutually exclusive would be in the overall good of charles to the detrement of society. It comes down to who is more important. Charles or the entire community of people he choose to have sex with.

weebee
06-07-04, 03:38 AM
I guess you've read this one (on the UK case)
http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk/1996/issue1/ormerod1.html

SARS provides an interesting point of view on this. Toronto considered enforcing quarantine on suspected cases who weren't voluntarily quarantining themselves, and I think if you carry an infection disease in the US and are not taking medicine you can be put into secured quarantine.