The defence began making its case Monday in the trial of Michael Robertson.
Robertson is accused of second-degree murder in the death of Rocky Genereaux, who died in hospital of a stab wound to the abdomen in March 2015.
Defence lawyer Brent Little said Monday in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench that there is no dispute with the fact that Robertson stabbed Genereaux. But, Little told the jury of eight women and four men that his client acted in self-defence.
Little then called Dr. Kurt Williams, an expert in blood-borne illnesses, to the stand.
Earlier in the trial, court heard at least one witness testify that Genereaux was an intravenous drug user, as were the other people he shared a home with. The officer who first responded to a 911 call made by Genereaux’s roomate told court he found unused needles still in their packaging in Genereaux’s pocket.
Court also heard that Genereaux and Robertson got into a loud altercation behind the closed door of Genereaux’s bedroom the night Genereaux was stabbed. A witness testified that Robertson came out of the room holding a knife before fleeing the home.
Little questioned Williams at length about how diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C can be transmitted through dirty needles.
Williams said there was far greater risk of disease spreading between drug users sharing a needle than via a simple needle stick. He said this was because with drug users, there is usually some blood left in the chamber of the needle that then gets injected directly into the bloodstream of the next user.
Little presented Williams with a hypothetical situation, asking what level of threat he’d see in a known intravenous drug user threatening to stick him with a needle and claiming to have HIV. Williams said he would want more information, but said that with high rates of both HIV and Hepatitis C prevalent in Saskatchewan’s intravenous drug users, he’d have to view such a scenario as a significant threat.
Robertson is expected to testify in his own defence starting on Tuesday morning.