What’s in a bottle of wine? That’s a key question in the decision in R. v. A.O. released by the Ontario Court of Appeal last Friday.
The appellant, A.O., appealed his conviction on three counts of sexual assault and one count of administering a stupefying drug with intent to commit sexual assault. The case stemmed from incidents in which three women went to A.O.’s business on the premise of participating in a paid wine survey. After vomiting and falling ill after drinking red wine, they alleged A.O. sexually assaulted them.
According to the Crown, the wine contained gamma-hydroxidebutyrate (GHB), a naturally occurring substance that can also act as a date-rape drug. In its natural form, it doesn’t produce significant effects. But the non-natural version is much more potent, Justice Michael Moldaver noted in the ruling.