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ONTARIO: HIV sex assault sentencing to go ahead, judge rules

The case centred around the issue of significant risk of bodily harm and whether there was a realistic possibility of transmission
The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo.
SAULT STE. MARIE — Superior Court Justice Edward Gareau has nixed a local man's bid to have his conviction on three counts of aggravated sexual assault re-opened so the court could hear further expert evidence on HIV transmission.

The judge dismissed Nicholas Goodchild's application Tuesday morning — the day after he heard from the proposed witness, a Manitoba physician qualified by the court as an expert on the risk transmission of HIV, and listened to the legal arguments made by the Crown and defence.

"I spent all evening reflecting on it," he said, before indicating he believes the proposed new evidence doesn't meet the high threshold of the cogency test for such applications.

Gareau said he will provide full reasons for his decision at a later time.

Goodchild will return to court Wednesday so that a date can be set for sentencing.

"This has not been an easy case, from start to finish, and it's just getting harder as we go along," Gareau told the lawyers Monday after they completed their submissions to the court.

He then said he might be able to tell them his decision, maybe without reasons, on Tuesday.

Gareau found the young man guilty of the charges for not disclosing his HIV-positive status to three sexual partners — two of whom he met through an online dating site — in November.

The convictions followed a seven-day trial that took place last summer.

During the trial, three women, whose identities are protected by a publication ban, testified that they had sexual relations with Goodchild between July 2013 and April  2014.

The case centred around the issue of significant risk of bodily harm and whether there was a realistic possibility of transmission.

Goodchild was slated to be sentenced March 26, but the hearing was adjourned because a court-ordered report wasn't ready.

It was scheduled for May 14, and it was then that Goodchild brought the application to re-open his conviction so that he could call  "new evidence."

On that date, after hearing submissions from assistant Crown attorney Dana Peterson and defence lawyer Michael Lacy, the judge decided to hear the application this week.


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About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 45 years.
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