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Tuesday 20 May 2008

Canada: Halifax man guilty of HIV exposure

A Halifax, Novia Scotia man has been found guilty of aggravated sexual assault for not disclosing his HIV status to his former girlfriend. The trial earlier this month was reported here. He will be sentenced in August.

Justice Arthur Pickup, of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, believed the complainant in this 'he said/she said' case. He also inadvertently explained why some people with HIV do not disclose their HIV status.

There were a number of other inconsistencies in Mr. Holland’s evidence that didn’t sit well with the judge, including the fact that he couldn’t pin down exactly when he had the important talk with his ex-girlfriend.

"Disclosure of an HIV status to a partner would be difficult and memorable, I think," the judge said.

Story from The Chronicle Herald below. (If you do click on the link to the original story, be aware that there are a lot of stigmatising comments posted by readers).

HIV carrier guilty in sex case

A Halifax man living with HIV was found guilty Thursday of aggravated sexual assault for not telling his ex-girlfriend about his health condition before having unprotected sex with her.

Blaine Arthur Holland, 36, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995, but his ex-girlfriend, who cannot be named, was under the impression he only tested positive in March 2006.

"He’s been lying to his friends, his family, to anyone who will listen," the victim said in a brief phone interview Thursday. "He knew.

"The verdict was what it should have been. That’s all I can say."

The 37-year-old Halifax woman agreed to keep dating Mr. Holland after he told her, thinking he had just found out himself.

She ended the relationship and went to the police in September 2006, when she discovered from another ex-girlfriend of Mr. Holland that he’s known about his condition for much longer.

Consent was the main issue in this trial, Justice Arthur Pickup said during his half-hour decision in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

He explained that although a person may freely agree to have unprotected sex with someone, the consent is moot if the person was unaware of the partner’s HIV status beforehand.

That was the case here, Justice Pickup said.

During the two-day trial last month, the victim testified that had she known Mr. Holland was infected, she never would have started a sexual relationship with him.

She told the court they had sex between 100 and 150 times. They didn’t always use a condom, she said, although Mr. Holland insists they always practised safe sex.

Justice Pickup said it came down to the credibility of Mr. Holland and his ex-girlfriend, who has so far tested negative for HIV.

The woman said she got tested as soon as she found out Mr. Holland’s status in March 2006. However, Mr. Holland testified that he was upfront about his health when the pair started dating a year earlier.

Justice Pickup said it "didn’t make sense" that the woman would wait a year to get tested if Mr. Holland had told her about his condition in March 2005.

There were a number of other inconsistencies in Mr. Holland’s evidence that didn’t sit well with the judge, including the fact that he couldn’t pin down exactly when he had the important talk with his ex-girlfriend.

"Disclosure of an HIV status to a partner would be difficult and memorable, I think," the judge said.

Mr. Holland sat quietly beside his lawyer as the guilty verdict was read out Thursday. A man and woman, believed to be Mr. Holland’s parents, sat a few rows behind him.

A presentence report was requested, and Mr. Holland will return to court on Aug. 14 for sentencing.

Until then, he remains free on a $25,000 recognizance on charges stemming from the aggravated sexual assault case.

Police allege Mr. Holland contacted a Crown witness and asked the man to lie for him in court.

Mr. Holland is charged with one count each of obstructing justice, intimidating a witness and breaching a court order.

He will be back in Halifax provincial court on that matter later this month.


Derf said...

2010 06 08

News papaers in teh region report that Blaine Holland has been granted day parole for six months.

Staff Reporter SHERRI BORDEN COLLEY reports;

Under his release conditions, Holland must report all intimate relationships and any changes in those relationships to his parole officer, take psychological counselling and not have any contact with the victim and a previous partner. He is also expected to participate in any recommended program while living in a halfway house.

The board did not impose a special condition requiring Holland to disclose his medical history.

"The board is satisfied that your disclosure of medical information can be properly monitored by the special condition to report all intimate relationships," the decision said.

Now if I read that correctly someone is about to keep a list of all the people he is intimate with.


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