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Tuesday 29 April 2008

Finland: Young man found guilty of multiple counts of HIV transmission and exposure

A 25 year-old Finnish man has been found guilty of five counts of criminal HIV transmission and 14 counts of HIV exposure.

Aki Hakkarainen was arrested in October 2007 after a number of women had complained to the police. He had previously received a 21 month conditional sentence for, what one (rare) English language website, Helsingin Sanomat , reported at the time as "a similar offence."

His photo was then published in newspapers throughout Finland.

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.
This resulted in a total of 21 women coming forward, although 'only' 19 of the cases resulted in a guilty verdict.

The man is now being assessed psychologically before sentencing; the prosecutor has asked for 12 years, which seems remarkably lenient compared with other jurisdictions. He may also have to pay damages of up to €500,000.

The case caused a sensation in Finland last October (and most likely again this week) but so far the only additional English language information I can find is from last year, here and here.

I hope to have more details soon when a Finnish friend has translated some more articles, including this Wikipedia entry, for me.

Article originally from Agence France-Presse on the RTE News website, below.

Finnish man wilfully spread HIV
A Finnish court has ruled that a man intentionally transmitted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, to five women and had unprotected sex with at least 14 others, exposing them to possible infection.

In all, 21 women brought charges against Aki Hakkarainen for wilfully attempting to infect them with HIV, but the court in the northern Finnish town of Rovaniemi found there was insufficient evidence in two of the cases.

It ordered the 25-year-old Finn to undergo a psychological examination before his sentence and the amount of damages were determined.

Hakkarainen would await sentencing in prison since he was likely to continue his 'criminal activities' if released, the court said in a statement.

The prosecutor in the case has called for Hakkarainen to be sentenced to 12 years behind bars, while the plaintiffs have requested total damages to the tune of €500,000.



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