Can lawyers reveal clients’ HIV status? Case shines light on ethical dilemmas when safety at risk
From Law Times, Monday, August 06, 2012 | Written by Siobhan McClelland
A recent criminal case in which a defence counsel disclosed her client’s HIV status to the court raises important ethical issues as to lawyers’ ability and obligation to divulge privileged information when public safety is at stake.
Lawyers can’t divulge information provided by a client in the course of the solicitor-client relationship without the client’s consent.
But in the recent case of R. v. Butt, criminal defence lawyer Heather Pringle did just that and drew praise from the court for doing so. Pringle’s client had pleaded guilty to sexual interference and received a sentence of 14 days in jail.
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