Virus Transmission, Deception and the Criminal Law

A detailed examination of the current English criminal law

Published: 21st June 2021

This article sets out some of the matters we discussed in our Libertas Chambers online lecture on 18 March 2021.

It considers the current state of the English criminal law in relation to deception and the transmission of a virus through sexual intercourse with particular reference to the decisions in R v Lawrance [2020] EWCA Crim 971 and R v Rowe [2018] EWCA Crim 2688.

Largely we consider two main issues:

(1) the criminal law in relation to deception and

(2) the decriminalisation of HIV transmission.

Over the last 12 months of lockdown, the lottery of viral transmission is now more generally understood which make the issue of decriminalisation of viral transmission worthy of further discussion, which is complex when the law on deception remains unclear and unresolved..

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