A judge ruled Monday that a man who has tested positive for HIV must stand trial on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of two women he allegedly infected through unprotected sex.
It's believed to be the first time someone in Canada who is HIV-positive has been charged with murder for allegedly having unprotected sex with a partner.
Ontario Court Justice Norman Bennett ruled there is enough evidence to commit Johnson Aziga, 49, to stand trial. Aziga had been charged in February.
Bennett ordered Aziga to be held in custody until a trial date is set on Dec. 16. Aziga, a former staff member with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, was diagnosed with HIV in 1996. One of the Toronto women died Dec. 7, 2003; the other died May 19, 2004.
Aziga is also accused of endangering the lives of 11 other women with whom he allegedly had sex. Those women are alleged to be victims of aggravated sexual assault because authorities believe they didn't know they were having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that one partner cannot give true consent if the other fails to disclose an HIV infection.
Bennett's ruling comes in the wake of a high-profile case involving an HIV-positive professional football player.
Trevis Smith, a linebacker with the Canadian Football League's Saskatchewan Roughriders, was charged last month with aggravated sexual assault in Surrey, British Columbia. Smith returned to Regina after he was freed on C$10,000 (US$8,400; Ђ7,171.52) bail last week, AP reports.