A love-struck Canadian who pricked holes in his girlfriend’s condoms in a desperate bid to save their ailing romance by getting her pregnant, has lost his appeal and will serve the remainder of his sexual assault sentence.
Craig Jaret Hutchinson of Clyde River, Nova Scotia was sentenced to eighteen months in December 2011 after he confessed to his act of sabotage and his girlfriend subsequently called the police. A court ruled Thursday January 3 that Mr Hutchinson’s ex-girlfriend clearly had not wanted to get pregnant and therefore his lack of ‘informed consent’ amounted to sexual assault as laid out under the Criminal Code.
Mr Hutchinson and his girlfriend, who was named only as N.C., began dating in January of 2006 but by that same summer, despite a reportedly active sex life together, she started to lose interest. Around this time, the defendant started poking holes in the contraceptives and by September, much to her surprise, she was pregnant.
The Novia Scotia Court of Appeal noted on Thursday in a statement: ‘Mr. Hutchinson began encouraging her to take a pregnancy test. She wondered why but, after much persistence, she acceded to his request. It came back as negative. This was September 1. He insisted that she take another. She did so on September 5. It came back as positive. She was shocked. He was delighted.’
Though she originally agreed to keep the child, events turned sour when Mr Hutchinson came clean with his confession. In a text message he wrote: ‘I wanted a baby with you so bad, I sabotaged the condoms. I poked holes in them all.’ N.C. broke off the relationship, reported him to the police and an abortion soon followed which led to an unfortunate infection of her uterus .
Although a judge at his first trial ordered the jury to acquit Mr Hutchinson accepting his insistence that he had received consent from his girlfriend, the verdict was overturned on appeal and he was convicted of sexual assault in 2011.
This latest appeal may not be his last either, reported CBC News. The province’s Court of Appeal ruled on the verdict yesterday 4-1, supported by Chief Justice Michael MacDonald’s explanation that ‘the alleged victim must be fully aware of the exact nature of the proposed sexual activity.’
But one judge who disagreed warned that this decision would have dangerous repercussions on women who secretly stop taking the pill to get pregnant. ‘The majority’s reasons… have the potential for increased, and potentially unwarranted, criminalization,’ wrote Justice David Farrar. ‘Expanding criminal liability in this way would represent a dramatic step backwards.’
With one dissenting voice, Mr Hutchinson’s lawyer, Luke Craggs, has the ability to appeal to the Supreme Court. ‘You can characterize what he did by sabotaging the condoms as sneaky and underhanded and dirty, but it wasn’t criminal – that was his position,’ Mr Craggs explained to the National Post of his client’s defence.
But four judges and other interested parties disagree. ‘Getting consent in a deceitful way is rape,’ said Hilla Kerner, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres. ‘Real consent, free consent can only be informed consent.’
As other powerful examples of similar cases, Ms Kerner pointed to the investigation of Julian Assange’s alleged sabotage of a condom in Sweden, and cases in Canada in which HIV sufferers have knowingly engaged in unprotected sex without revealing their condition to their partners.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled these acts to be sexual assault.