THE ongoing case of a Brisbane man charged with deliberately transmitting HIV to two men in 2012 has almost come to a close after a not guilty sentence was handed down last week.
Accused of failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to two sexual partners in October 2012, the 22-year-old (pictured above in court artist’s impression) was charged with “recklessly putting someone else at risk of contracting a controlled notifiable condition, namely HIV” under Queensland communicable diseases law after handing himself into police custody.
It was alleged that he repeatedly engaged in unprotected sex with a Clayfield couple, on Brisbane’s northside, despite being diagnosed with HIV two years earlier and not disclosing this to the men.
On December 21 while out on bail, he allegedly entered the home of one of two complainants — both of which were at the home at the time — and assaulted them.
Following the altercation 22-year-old faced new charges, including breaching a bail condition that he not use the internet, assaults against witnesses, assaults occasioning bodily harm, entering a dwelling with intent to use/threaten violence and a final charge of stealing.
He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm when the trial before Judge Stuart Durward began, but it was not accepted by the Crown.
The 59-year-old alleged victim was diagnosed with HIV after he and his partner of 18 years had consensual sex with the 22-year-old in 2012.
Crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said the couple and the man met via Manhunt in 2010 and communicated online before meeting on July 5, 2012.
McCarthy said the 22-year-old told the couple repeatedly that he was HIV-negative and cited a preference for unprotected sex.
He was also asked about his status before they had consensual unprotected sex, according to the partner of the alleged victim who told the jury: “He said he was HIV negative and had been tested three months before and hadn’t engaged in sex with anybody else since that testing.”
Having some “suspicions” about the man’s health and status, the alleged victim and his partner arranged for him to be tested in August.
“[He] looked surprised and said: ‘I can’t be’,” the alleged victim said following a positive result being returned in September.
Following a confrontation between the 22-year-old and the alleged victim later that month, the former allegedly boasted of his desire to deliberately ‘infect’ as many married police and firefighters and as he could.
The alleged victim denied fabricating the conversation after a conference with the prosecutor in June following cross-examination by the accused’s barrister James Benjamin.
However, a jury cleared the 22-year-old of committing a malicious act with intent of spreading HIV as the trial continued the following day following three hours of deliberation.
He will still face punishment for his assault charges and is due to be sentenced at a date to be announced.
(Photo credit: Ann-Marie Calilhanna; Star Observer)