A 25 year-old Finnish man, who has been HIV-positive since 16, has been sentenced to ten years in prison for five counts of aggravated assault (criminal HIV transmission), 14 counts of attempted aggravated assault (criminal HIV exposure), and one count of rape. He will also have to pay the 21 female complainants a total of €330,000 (£263,000/$485,000) in damages.
I first reported the case in April, when Aki Hakkarainen was found guilty.
The case has been widely reported globally, including the International Herald Tribune, as well as in Thailand, New Zealand, and criminalisation-crazy Canada.
The most detailed reports come from the international edidtion of Finland's Helsingin Sanomat. I include three here, in reverse chronological order: the sentencing report; the pre-sentencing hearing; and a report, from last year, about the impact of the police publishing his name and photograph throughout Finland in a 'fishing expedition' masquerading as a public health exercise.
Rovaniemi HIV case brings 10-year custodial sentence and over EUR 300,000 in damages
The Rovaniemi District Court today handed down a sentence of ten years’ imprisonment on Aki Matti Hakkarainen, 25, who was found guilty of having intentionally spread HIV through unprotected sex with several women.
The sentence was passed on 14 counts of attempted aggravated assault, five counts of aggravated assault, and one count of rape.
The sexual encounters all took place between between 1999 and 2004, in spite of the fact that Hakkarainen knew he had contracted HIV at the age of sixteen.
Hakkarainen was also ordered to pay compensation to his victims totalling around EUR 330,000.
The victims were slightly disappointed by the judgement, as they had sought nearly half a million euros in damages from the defendant.
The court ordered Hakkarainen to pay for permanent harm caused to several of the women with whom he had had unprotected sex. One woman is to receive 55,000 euros, and four others 45,000 euros each.
Further payments are called for to compensate for the mental trauma caused, with sums varying in this case from EUR 600 to EUR 8,000 per victim.
The prison term was lengthened by an earlier suspended sentence that the court now ordered to be put into effect.
The court had ruled earlier this month that Hakkarainen was fit to be tried and sentenced for the offences, after a psychiatric examination had been carried out in July. In its interim ruling, the court had stated that the man was found guilty of transmitting HIV intentionally to at least five women. In addition, he had had unprotected sex with another 16 women, exposing them to possible infection.
The prosecutor had called for a minimum sentence of 12 years' imprisonment.
Court action against HIV man continues in Rovaniemi
The legal proceedings against a 25-year-old man suspected of having intentionally spread HIV through unprotected sex with several women continued today in the city of Rovaniemi in Northern Finland.
The District Court examined the results of the psychiatric examination that was ordered for the suspect and completed last month, and deemed that the defendant was in a fit mental state to be sentenced for the offences.
In its interim ruling the court had stated previously that the man was found guilty of transmitting HIV intentionally to at least five women. In addition, he had had unprotected sex with another 16 women, exposing them to possible infection.
The prosecutor has called for a minimum sentence of 12 years' imprisonment. The maximum permissible sentence under the law would be 13 years. A judgement will be handed down on August 25th.
The man engaged in unprotected sex with numerous women between the years of 1999 and 2004, in spite of the fact that he knew he had contracted HIV at the age of sixteen. The unprotected intercourse took place in Rovaniemi, Jyväskylä, and Äänekoski.
The case attracted some attention late last year, when police published a photograph of the man and disclosed his name - something seldom done before trial - in order that other sexual partners who might have been infected could be reached.
Publishing photo of HIV man leads to discovery of yet another HIV-positive victim from years ago
The police's radical step of going public with the photograph of a 24-year-old Rovaniemi man suspected of having intentionally spread HIV through unprotected sex has led to four new women voluntarily coming forward as suspected victims. In the first tests one of them has indicated positive for the virus.
"After having seen the photograph, the woman approached the police and was tested for HIV. It turned out that the woman, born in 1980, has unknowingly been HIV positive since 2003. Now she will receive treatment", explains Chief Inspector Jukka Haataja from the Rovaniemi police.
Of the last four women who have come forward, three are from the city of Rovaniemi in Northern Finland near the Arctic Circle, and one is from the south of the country. Three of the women were on the police list of suspected victims.
Twenty-two of Aki Hakkarainen’s victims have filed a report of an offence against him. Three of them have contracted the HI-virus, and the first test of a further two proved positive. These two have to wait for the results of the second test for about a week.
In December 2005, Hakkarainen received a conditional sentence of one year and nine months for a similar offence. He raised no objections to the publication of his picture by police, stating that he wished to assist in making sure that all those partners who might have been infected could be reached.
The police justified the action of publishing personal information in this way on grounds of safeguarding health, and for investigative reasons.