An HIV-positive Winnipeg man who spit bloody saliva onto a police officer’s face has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.
Monday was the second time Clifford Bear has been sentenced for the August 2009 incident.
Bear, 43, was convicted of assault following a trial in 2011 and sentenced to one year in jail. The Manitoba Court of Appeal later ruled Bear should have been convicted of attempted aggravated assault and ordered that he be re-sentenced.
The maximum sentence for attempted aggravated assault is seven years in prison.
“In my view, the conduct displayed by Mr. Bear, even given that he was intoxicated at the time, was reprehensible,” Justice Deborah McCawley said Monday.
Bear was shoplifting at a Bargain Store in Winnipeg when he assaulted two staff members who tried to stop him. Bear jumped on a bus and was later arrested by police.
On the way to the police station, Bear made comments about being HIV-positive and spitting.
The officers placed Bear in a spit sock — a netting that’s placed over the head to prevent suspects from spitting — but once inside the holding cell, he slipped out of it and hid from view.
When an officer entered to check on him, Bear spit bloody saliva into his eye and onto his nose and forehead.
“This was not something done out of impulse, this was premeditated,” Crown attorney Ami Kotler told court Monday.
The officer was taken to the hospital and prescribed anti-viral medication, which made him violently ill for several days. He has since tested negative for HIV.
Bear has a lengthy criminal record, including two prior convictions for assaulting police officers.
Kotler said Bear has shown no remorse for his actions.
“There is literally nothing we can do to disarm him,” Kotler said. “He sees HIV as a weapon he carries around with him at all times, everywhere he goes.”
In 2012, Bear was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison. Bear impregnated a teenage girl who he did not inform of his medical status. Neither the girl or her child contracted HIV.