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Tuesday 15 July 2008

Australia: Man suing SA for not preventing Stuart McDonald from 'infecting him with HIV' complains over costs

A man from Melbourne who is suing the South Australian Government for 'allowing' Stuart McDonald to 'infect him with HIV' is now publicising his problems with the costs of the complaint.

His lawyer has now gone public with the fact that he is being charged AUS$35,000 to get copies of more than 2000 documents relating to the case.

Two of the eight men that Mr McDonald is alleged to have infected with HIV are now suing the SA Government for not having controlled his behaviour.

Meanwhile, Stuart McDonald's trial is due to take place in August.

(click here for a page refresh with all of my blog postings on the Stuart McDonald case)

Full story, below, comes from Adeleide Now.

Victims charged $35,000 in HIV case
Andrew Dowell, Court Reporter
July 05, 2008

THE State Government is demanding victims of alleged HIV sex predator Stuart McDonald pay up to $35,000 to access crucial information about him.

Lawyers for a man suing the state over his alleged HIV infection accused the Government of threatening victims with "financial ruin" to stop them pursuing compensation claims.

They said demands of $35,000 just to inspect documents were "outrageous".

The Victorian man and another alleged victim have launched District Court claims.

They argue authorities failed to properly supervise McDonald when he was subject to a Health Department control order. McDonald, 42, is alleged to have "deliberately and recklessly" infected eight men with the HIV virus between January, 2005, and mid-2006.

One claimant's lawyer, Leo Redden, wrote to the Crown Solicitor's office seeking access to documents from the Health Department and a Sexually Transmitted Diseases clinic relating to McDonald's control order.

A letter from the Crown Solicitor's office said there were "approximately 2000 documents potentially within the scope of your request."

"This would amount to some 170 hours' work. The cost, therefore is likely to be in excess of $35,000," it said. "Could you please confirm your client is aware of this and is agreeable to pay the relevant costs."

In a strongly worded reply, Mr Redden accused the state of using threats against his client.

"The suggestion that (my client) and others could each be liable to the State of South Australia for an amount of $35,000 is outrageous and appears to be nothing more than an in terrorem threat, designed to dissuade our clients from pursuing their legal entitlements," he wrote.

"It is aimed at allowing a powerful litigant such . . . to threaten financial ruin to members of the public."

The alleged victim, 31, who lives in Melbourne, claims to have been infected by McDonald after they met on an internet dating site. Prosecutors have alleged McDonald infected eight victims after meeting them through the Gaydar website – at the same time he was subject to the Government control order.



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