Tearful man asks for leniency after sexual conviction

"I'm sorry. Napoleon Ngeruka, an HIV-positive Yukon man who was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault for having unprotected sex while not disclosing his condition, offered these words.

“I’m sorry.

Napoleon Ngeruka, an HIV-positive Yukon man who was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault for having unprotected sex while not disclosing his condition, offered these words as an expression of remorse in Yukon territorial court on June 29.

Ngeruka struggled to contain his tears when he asked Justice Michael Cozens for leniency at the sentencing hearing.

He was convicted on June 16 after pleading guilty.

“He failed to disclose to her that he had HIV, he failed to use a condom and he failed to take anti-retroviral drugs to maintain as low a viral load dose as possible,” wrote Justice Cozens, adding that there could be no consent in that situation.

The Crown is asking for three years in federal prison, but Ngeruka is pleading to avoid serving time in a penitentiary. His lawyer is asking for a conditional sentence of two years less a day.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the judge could give Ngeruka a conditional sentence, which could allow him to serve the sentence at his home. That possibility was taken out of the criminal code for aggravated sexual assaults in 2007.

The aggravated sexual assault charges were laid for two periods of time: 2005 and 2009. However, it is during the first one, in 2005, that the infection likely occurred, the judge said, which would make the conditional sentence available.

“A conditional sentence is available but the Crown doesn’t think it’s appropriate,” Crown attorney Joanna Phillips told the judge.

Ngeruka testified he has already been to jail three times, including once for breaching his bail conditions. He also said he lost friends after the case was reported in the media.

“Sometimes when I go to bed, I wish I wouldn’t wake up,” he told the court. He had been under a curfew until last October.

Justice Cozens noted Ngeruka suffered from a number of health issues, including diabetes and high blood pressure. He is also the sole caregiver for one of his daughters, who suffered significant psychological damages after witnessing her mom being killed, the court heard.

Ngeruka suffered from alcohol addiction, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had to flee his home country in 1997 because of death threats, the judge also noted.

However, the judge noted several aggravating factors, one of which being how Ngeruka infected a woman with HIV.

While he expressed remorse, Ngeruka also made the complainant testify extensively about her sexual history, the judge said.

After entering a guilty plea, Ngeruka disputed the fact he was the one who infected the woman with HIV.

As a result, she had to disclose the nature, length and other details of her sexual life before the court.

Her name and any identifying details that could reveal her identify are covered by a publication ban due to the nature of the crime.

The judge ruled Ngeruka did in fact infect her, relying on expert testimonies from two doctors and the victim.

HIV testing showed Ngeruka and the woman had a similar strain of HIV virus, one that is “not common” in comparison to other strains in the territory.

None of the woman’s former partners except for Ngeruka tested positive for HIV.

At trial, the woman testified Ngeruka didn’t tell her about his condition, and didn’t use a condom.

She would never have had unprotected sex with him had she known he was HIV-positive, she testified.

The two first met in 2005 and their relationship lasted a couple of months. They met again in 2009, and had sex about four times, the woman testified.

Justice Cozens also pointed out that medical advances mean an HIV infection is not “a virtual death sentence anymore.”

“But it’s still hanging over your head.”

Despite that, the psychological harm is still quite significant, Phillips said.

Justice Cozens is expected to render his decision on Ngeruka’s sentence next Thursday in Yukon territorial court.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read