A Canadian man living with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been sentenced to six months in prison for spitting into the eye and mouth of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer during arrest, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Graham Penner, a 43-year-old British Columbia resident, pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting a peace officer in May, when authorities were called to his apartment after an alleged domestic assault. Before spitting, Penner told the officers that he was infected with hep C. He was then punched in the face twice by one of the mounties while handcuffed and arrested on the assault charge.

Law enforcement officials involved in the case argued that the sentence was justified because the man was “contagious” and the consequences of his actions “could be life-threatening” to the officers involved.

However, a vast array of medical research shows hepatitis C cannot be transmitted via an infected person’s saliva. The officers were likely at no risk for contracting the disease from spit.

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