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Tuesday 24 March 2009

Australia: Bail for African migrant accused in Adelaide

An African migrant who is charged with "two counts of endangering life after he exposed his partner to the HIV virus" has been granted bail.

ABC online reports that the man, whose case was first reported last month, has received "home detention bail on the condition he surrenders his passport and wears an electronic monitor."

Despite the report's headline – 'Bail for accused HIV infector' – it's not clear from any of the reports so far that that he is actually accused of criminal HIV transmission, but rather non-disclosure prior to unprotected sex (criminal HIV exposure). This seems possible under South Australia's criminal law, but unusual.

Last month's report from Adeleide Now included the following details:

[Police] allege he exposed the woman to the Human Immmuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) through sexual intercourse in 2004 and 2005, without her knowing that he was HIV-positive.

This latest report adds a little more detail to the case, notably that, like so many accused in low-prevalence high-income countries, the man is a heterosexual African migrant:
The court heard [man's name] came to Australia as a refugee and has been living in Australia for 10 years.

The court also heard he was about to return to Africa when he was arrested.

However, the report also suggests that it is not only the woman who is a complainant in the case, but also her baby.

He will also be prevented from contacting any of his alleged victims including a child born to one of his ex-girlfriends.
This suggests that the woman, his ex-girlfriend, tested HIV-positive after transmitting HIV to her baby, and he now stands accused of both infections.


Anonymous said...

Actaully there is no onus to disclose in South Australia, nor has the accused been charged because he has infected anybody. The relevant South Australian criminal law which is being used in this case is "Recklessley endangering another person's life" just as it is in the MacDonald case and the previous Perez case. Failing to take steps to avoid transmission (ie unprotected sex), lying about being HIV positive or failing to disclose being HIV positive are factors the court takes into consideration when determining whether the person has acted recklessly.


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