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Monday 3 December 2007

Australia: Sudanese migrant pleads guilty to HIV exposure in Melbourne; possible political fallout

Officials knew man HIV risk to others

Julia Medew
December 1, 2007

A PSYCHOLOGIST reported a Geelong man as a "high risk of infecting others with HIV" to Victorian health authorities 11 days before the man went on to allegedly expose a woman to the virus by having unprotected sex with her, a court has heard.

Documents tendered to the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday also revealed the Department of Human Services waited more than two weeks to detain the Sudanese migrant after the psychologist's warning in April.

In between the psychologist's report and his detention, the HIV-positive man, Lam Kuoth, allegedly had unprotected sex with a woman five times without disclosing his status to her.

A prosecution summary tendered to the court showed that after Kuoth's HIV diagnosis in September last year, departmental staff received at least two complaints that he was behaving recklessly before he allegedly exposed the woman to HIV on April 22.

The document also revealed that former Chief Health Officer Dr Robert Hall placed Kuoth on an order under the Health Act on April 4 to practise safe sex and advise sexual partners of his HIV status.

Dr Hall was sacked in the same month The Age revealed his bungled handling of another HIV-positive man accused of spreading the virus.

Police have charged Kuoth with five counts of reckless conduct endangering serious injury.

He was released on bail in June after a Geelong magistrate said he believed Kuoth had changed "considerably". The 28-year-old appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court for his committal hearing yesterday, but it did not proceed after his lawyer applied for the case to be heard in a closed court.

Magistrate Greg Connellan adjourned to Monday his decision on the lawyer's application to close the court.

This story was found at:

Man admits to spreading HIV

December 3, 2007 - 12:17PM

A HIV-infected Geelong man has pleaded guilty to deliberately having unprotected sex with a partner who was unaware of his condition.

Lam Kuoth, 28, today pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to two counts of reckless conduct endangering serious injury, but reserved his plea on a further three counts of the same charge.

Kuoth will appear in the Victorian County Court on February 21 for a pre-sentence hearing.

He has admitted having unprotected sex with a woman without divulging his HIV positive status on April 22 year.

Kuoth was diagnosed HIV positive in September last year and warned he must advise partners of his condition and practise safe sex.

An application by the defendant to have the matter heard in a closed court was refused by magistrate Greg Connellan.

"In my view the charges alleged here are matters properly dealt with in the County Court with all the formality and deliberation that is necessarily part of that court's jurisdiction," Mr Connellan said.


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