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Saturday 29 March 2008

Australia: Jilted wife accuses husband of criminal HIV transmission twelve years after alleged event

A 39 year-old HIV-positive Melbourne man is being accused of "intentionally causing another person to become infected with a very serious disease, reckless conduct endangering life and reckless conduct endangering serious injury" more than twelve years after the alleged event.

The 'victim' is the man's estranged wife, who married the man five years after her diagnosis, and who only complained to the police last year after he left her for another woman.

It seems to me that criminal HIV exposure and transmission laws are increasingly being used as ways for the jilted and broken-hearted to get revenge. Is this what the law-makers intended?

It all shows that there is no statute of limitations for criminal HIV transmission, and suggests that HIV-positive people could face charges whenever a relationship breaks down, no matter how long ago the alleged transmission event took place.

Of course, proving that one person infected another becomes increasingly harder the further away you are from a transmission event, unless stored blood samples from around that time are available.

The article, from the Herald Sun, is below.

Man accused of deliberately infecting wife
By Kate Uebergang
March 29, 2008 03:05am

AN HIV-positive man has been sent to trial accused of intentionally giving his wife the virus.

The man, 39, who cannot be identified, told police he did not inform his partner he had the virus when they began a sexual relationship in January 1996, according to documents tendered to Melbourne Magistrates' Court yesterday.

The woman, also 39, said she became mysteriously ill just two months after they first had sex and lost about 10kg in a week before she was diagnosed with HIV.

The woman is now unable to work, drive or write, nor can she have children and is often nauseous and lethargic with severe allergic reactions to her treatments.

The court was told that after the woman was diagnosed, the man told her he had also been tested and had HIV.

The next year, the man revealed to her he was a haemophiliac and had contracted the virus when he was 14 from a blood transfusion at the Alfred hospital.

"(His) explanation was that he was concerned that I would not want a relationship with him if I knew the truth," the woman said in a statement tendered to the court.

"Looking back, he was probably right."

The court was told the couple married in 2001 - more than five years after the woman's diagnosis.

The woman said her husband became very controlling and the only people that were told about their HIV status were told by him and at his choosing.

"He became suspicious and paranoid that I would tell my family or friends about my illness," she said.

The man left his wife last year and began a relationship with another woman.

In a police interview tendered to the court, the man allegedly said: "I wasn't careful in what we did. I was probably more scared if anything, and probably didn't handle it the right way obviously."

He said they first had sex together one night after "plenty of drinks", and while he was aware of the consequences of having unprotected sex with her, he was "very lapse".

"Didn't think it'd happen to me and her," he said.

The woman now takes anti-retroviral medication and her medical condition requires regular visits to doctors and specialists, blood tests, X-rays and scans.

Yesterday the man reserved his plea to each of three charges: intentionally causing another person to become infected with a very serious disease, reckless conduct endangering life and reckless conduct endangering serious injury.

Magistrate Peter Reardon ordered the man to appear at the County Court for a directions hearing on April 22.



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