An Ontario judge has cleared the way for an HIV-positive man to stand trial on first-degree murder charges in the case of two women who died of complications from the virus.
Justice Norman Bennett of Hamilton ruled there’s enough evidence to send Johnson Aziga, 49, to trial. He was remanded in custody until a trial date is set Dec. 16.
Aziga is believed to be the first HIV-positive person in Canada to be charged with murder after allegedly having unprotected sex and passing on the virus.
Aziga, who was charged last January, was diagnosed with the AIDS virus in 1996. The two Toronto women he allegedly had sex with have died: one in December 2003 and the other in May 2004.
The former staffer at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is also accused of aggravated sexual assault of 11 other women he allegedly had sex with, and these women have said they did not know he was HIV positive.
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled one partner cannot give true consent for sexual relations if the other fails to disclose an HIV infection.
The ruling comes in the wake of a similar case involving Trevis Smith, a linebacker with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders who was charged with aggravated sexual assault in Surrey, B.C.
The RCMP took the extraordinary step of revealing Smith is HIV positive because officials felt a public warning was necessary.