Thornton, knowing he had tested positive twice for HIV antibodies, donated blood to the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) without disclosing this to them. He was tried and convicted of a violation of s.180 of the Criminal Code.
- Is there a legal duty for an individual to disclose they are HIV-positive when donating blood?
Galligan, writing for the court, held that Thornton was guilty under s.180 for a breach of legal duty which arises from the common law. This is established through finding that the appellant had knowledge that he was HIV-positive and that he knew the screening used by the CRC was not perfect. This knowledge was sufficient for the court to find mens rea and the appeal was dismissed.
This case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.