Sentencing delayed for Halifax man who did not tell sex partner he was HIV positive

·2 min read
Gregory Howard Bowser is due back in court June 7 for sentencing. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Gregory Howard Bowser is due back in court June 7 for sentencing. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

A Halifax man who failed to disclose his HIV-positive status to a sexual partner must wait until June to learn if he will be jailed.

Justice Kevin Coady of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court told Gregory Howard Bowser on Thursday that more time is needed to determine an appropriate sentence.

Bowser, 30, was convicted in December 2020 of aggravated sexual assault following a three-day trial.

Crown prosecutor Richard Hartlen said in his sentencing arguments that Bowser should be jailed for at least a year given the seriousness of the offence.

Bowser's lawyer, Peter Planetta, told the judge his client has already suffered a great deal as he's been on house arrest under strict conditions while his case makes its way through the system.

Victim not told about HIV status

Evidence at the trial showed Bowser had unprotected sex with the victim in April 2018, despite being told a few weeks before by his family doctor that he was HIV positive and should use a condom.

Bowser did not tell the victim ahead of time about his HIV diagnosis. The victim — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — was, and remains, HIV negative.

During sentencing arguments Thursday, the man told the court the encounter with Bowser has left him with serious, lasting trauma and that he has suffered from resentment, depression, bitterness, crippling shame and reclusiveness.

Bowser apologized to the man, saying he was truly sorry for causing anguish and that he hoped the man would be able to move on.

Bowser says he's now sober

He blamed his behaviour that night on an addiction to amphetamines and the use of cocaine and alcohol, adding that he is now sober and has fundamentally changed since that night three years ago.

"I'm really proud of myself for taking my sobriety seriously," Bowser told the judge.

Bowser has been living with his mother under house arrest. Anne Godley testified that her son has lost a great deal, including his engineering designation and his spot in grad school.

Godley told the court her son is unemployed and that she is supporting him. She said his family and friends have cut off contact with him, leaving him isolated.

Coady said he will deliver his sentencing decision on June 7.

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