Canadian Hemophilia Society

Canadian Hemophilia Society

May 30, 2005 09:46 ET

Canadian Hemophilia Society to Attend Announcement by Canadian Red Cross Re: Tainted Blood Charges

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - May 30, 2005) - Representatives of the Canadian Hemophilia Society (CHS) will be present this morning at the John Sopinka Court House in Hamilton, Ontario. They anticipate that the Canadian Red Cross will plead guilty to charges laid following an RCMP investigation into the worst public health disaster in Canadian history. Following meetings between lawyers for the Crown, the Canadian Red Cross, former Red Cross Medical Director Dr. Roger Perrault and Mr. Justice James Kent, it was announced late Friday May 27, 2005, that charges against the Canadian Red Cross Society "would be resolved" at the John Sopinka Court House in Hamilton on Monday May 30 at 11 o'clock am. CHS spokesperson John Plater said, "given the nature of the evidence against them and the resolve of the public to see justice done for tainted blood victims, we assume that the only way this can't go to trial is for them to plead guilty as charged." The charges against Dr. Perrault will apparently proceed unaffected by this new development.

On November 20, 2002, following a 5 year RCMP investigation, 6 charges were laid against the Canadian Red Cross for criminal common nuisance by endangering the public. The charges related to their management of the Canadian blood supply and the supply of blood and blood products to Canadians during the 1980's. During this period the blood supply in Canada became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV), in turn infecting thousands of Canadians with HIV and/or HCV. Following an inquiry and report tabled by Justice Horace Krever, head of the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada, and after a lengthy independent investigation by the RCMP, charges were laid on the basis that they knew enough during this period to warn blood recipients of the dangers and screen potential donors to reduce risks to the system. It is believed such measures could have saved many lives.

"We will wait to see exactly what happens today," said Plater, at the Court House in Hamilton to observe the hearing first hand. "Perhaps finally, the Red Cross is prepared to accept responsibility. It is the least they can do for the sake of victims who have waited two decades for someone to be held accountable."

Representatives of the CHS will be available at the Hamilton Court to respond to media inquires following the proceeding.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Hemophilia Society
    John Plater, Chair,
    HCV/HIV Task Force
    Canadian Hemophilia Society
    David Page
    Director of Programs and Communications