The Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to deliver its decision today in the case of a Nova Scotia man who admitted tampering with his girlfriend's condoms, resulting in her pregnancy.
Craig Jaret Hutchinson was convicted of sexual assault in a case that hinges on the question of consent.
The Crown prosecutor in the case, Jim Gumpert, says the question is whether poking holes in condoms and then using them without the other person’s knowledge is sufficient to remove consent.
Hutchinson's case has been moving through the Nova Scotia court system for more than six years, including two trials and two appeals.
His girlfriend consented to having sex with him on the condition they use birth control. But in 2006, as the relationship cooled, Hutchinson thought he could keep it going by getting his girlfriend pregnant, he said.
Without her knowing it, he poked holes in her condoms. She eventually became pregnant, but asked for time to think. It was during that period that Hutchinson told her in a series of text messages what he'd done. She called police and had an abortion. A publication ban protects her identity.
Hutchinson was charged with sexual assault.
The judge at Hutchinson's first trial called his actions "dastardly" but acquitted him. The Crown appealed that decision, and Hutchinson was convicted in December 2011 at his second trial.
That conviction was upheld on appeal, but the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal split its decision, with one justice dissenting. That gave Hutchinson an automatic right to appeal, leading to his appearance before the Supreme Court.
Canada's highest court heard arguments on the case last November.
Hutchinson has been free on bail pending the outcome of this appeal. At his trial, he was sentenced to 18 months in jail. He also gave a DNA sample and his name was placed on the national sex offender registry.