HIV COURT AWARD
Lawyer Alex Maroulis of Hillman Laxon Tobias acted for the successful plaintiff in the case reported (SSO 1019) by your paper.
In the debate that must follow this groundbreaking case, do not lose sight of the fact the defendant had wilfully and deliberately transmitted HIV to the plaintiff and had knowingly lied about his status.
This was not a case of unwitting or unwilling transmission. It is difficult therefore to understand the reactions of representatives of HIV/AIDS organisations in condemning this achievement for our client and others as a “retrograde” step or as somehow setting a poor precedent. Such comments are based on incorrect underlying assumptions and overlook the deliberate role of the defendant.
The evidence accepted by the court demonstrated a deliberate and contrived behaviour on the part of the defendant, not only to conceal his HIV status, but to actively encourage the belief he was not HIV positive and his relationship with our client was monogamous, committed and long-term.
None of these matters was true, although the defendant asserted to our client that each of them was true and warranted full confidence in unprotected sex.
This was not a criminal prosecution. Our client sought and recovered damages as compensation for the losses he has and will incur as the result of the actions of the defendant.
The consequences for our client include serious health problems, ongoing psychological and psychiatric problems, employment difficulties, and a considerable reduction in life expectancy.
If these consequences had been the result of deliberate action and recklessness by one person to another in a field other than sexual activity, such as assault or fraud, we are sure that the laws of any civil society would provide for compensation.
To argue the deliberate and reckless action, as the result of sexual activity, removes the responsibility for that conduct from a perpetrator is unjust and irresponsible.
People who have full capacity for their decisions must also accept full responsibility for their actions. When these decisions and actions result in injury to others, then those responsible must be held to account.
— Hillman Laxon Tobias Lawyers
blood on the dancefloor
I feel someone needs to speak out about the disgraceful decline of our clubs which have long been held as a place our minority can meet and have fun together.
We went to Arq after the Beresford closed on Anzac Day evening. The crowd was mixed but would be 30 percent gay and 70 percent straight.
We enjoy hanging out with our straight mates. They are tolerant and we enjoy each other’s company. But tolerance was not at Arq. A mate was hit in the face. His teeth were smashed in and he has had to get dentures.
A thug and his girlfriend told my mate to stop staring at the boyfriend. It’s a gay bar — or we thought it was.
My mate looked away but it was too late. They started punching him. The bouncers could not find anyone, the CCTV couldn’t pick them up and the bar staff didn’t see anything.
This would be the third bashing at Arq I know of in as many months. Where is the duty of care to its patrons?  It’s time to turn our dollars to those who care.
— Pete
small-mindedness
AIDS groups that don’t acknowledge others’ legal rights are a fraud on the GLBT community. They do not represent AIDS sufferers’ best interests (SSO 1019).
The $750,000 won in compensation will go some way to give the recipient a half-decent life, a cost these groups now do not have to find.
Their small-mindedness thinks that because others achieve some justice all AIDS sufferers will not come forward is not an evidence-based approach and, in this case, shows they are clearly wrong.
— Andrew
WHERE ARE THEY?
Shredding old copies of SSO for composting, I had a laugh reading a cover story about my old stomping ground, ‘Imperial Opening Date Set’ (Oct 2009).
To quote, “The Imperial Hotel will be open the end of November, owner Shadd Danesi has guaranteed — irrespective of the outcome of his court case against the City of Sydney”.  My, six months have flown.  Funny too, what happened to my other house of fun, Mr Mary’s. It too has failed to re-eventuate. Doesn’t Shadd own that too?  Mmm…
— Tim
HAPPY CYCLIST
In response to Chris and his criticism of Clover Moore’s cycleways (‘Self-Promotion’, Letters, SSO 1019), I would like to thank the Lord Mayor for building them. When I was riding to school in my youth, I was yelled at — ‘faggot’ — and nearly run off the road. Now I have rights and my own bicycle lane.
— Stuart
HOWARD’S LAP DOG
There has been much discussion about Tony Abbott recently in the gay press.
Hey, the guy wears Speedos, he can’t be that bad! Yes, he can. He was John Howard’s lap dog, attack dog and one of his closest confidants.
As for Tony Abbott’s social views, they aren’t conservative. They are medieval. If gay people cannot interpret the swaggering, tough-guy walk or the condescending guffawing over political opponents to whom he has no response in debates as warning signs of a very frightening person, perhaps one piece of information may.
Before the last federal election, Brendan Nelson, Danna Vale and Tony Abbott were the sponsors of the application by the Exclusive Brethren to become lobbyists to the federal Government. A Google search will confirm this. According to Alan Ramsey in The Sydney Morning Herald three years ago, it was Tony Abbott who signed the documentation.
Keep this in mind next time you discuss Tony “some of my best friends are gay” Abbott.
— Kevin

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