Blood test ordered for woman who spat in constable's face
A Saskatchewan judge has ordered a mandatory blood test for an allegedly HIV-positive woman who spat at a police officer.
Queen Bench Justice Noel Sandomirsky was deciding on the latest case before Saskatchewan courts involving a suspect spitting in an officer’s face.
The current case stems from a recent incident in Prince Albert where an enraged prisoner being escorted from the courthouse spat twice at a constable.
The officer said the woman claimed she had once been a prostitute and was infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The officer applied under the Mandatory Testing and Disclosure (Bodily Substances) Act to have the woman forced to undergo a blood test.
His application included a doctor’s opinion that said the spitting incident put him at risk of contracting HIV as well as hepatitis B.
Sandomirsky said he was satisfied there was a risk and ordered the blood test.
In his five-page decision which was recently published online, Sandomirsky said police and others who perform similar work are entitled to "considerable deference" from the court.
"The nature of their work places each at a degree of differing risk as they perform a vital service to the public," Sandomirsky wrote.
Sandomirsky’s decision was somewhat at odds with another recent sentencing ruling where a La Ronge judge said it's an "urban myth" that police officers who are spat at get serious diseases.
In that earlier decision, Judge Felicia Daunt rejected a Crown prosecutor’s call for a six-month jail sentence for a woman who spat in an officer’s eye after she was arrested for drunk driving.
She said the Crown wasn't able to provide evidence of any "documented, verifiable" transmission of any disease to a police officer in a spitting incident. Criminal suspects are aware police are terrified of being spat at, so that's why they do it, she said.
In the La Ronge case, the woman pleaded guilty to assault, was put on probation and sentenced to the five days she had already served.
That decision sparked a strong reaction from Saskatchewan police officers.
Evan Bray, the president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, said officers wanted the Crown to appeal the sentence and were upset by the judge’s comments.
CBC News has been told the Crown will not appeal.