ANDIE NOONAN
www.bnews.net.au

Melbourne man Michael Neal has been found guilty of 15 charges, including attempting to infect another person with HIV, rape, reckless conduct endangering a person and sexual penetration by fraud.

The jury took four days to find Neal guilty following the six-week trial, with a number of witnesses telling the court they had unprotected sex with Neal who had failed to disclose his HIV status.

He was cleared on 11 counts, including two of causing people to be infected.

The defence argued Neal did not believe he was infectious because his “viral loads” were low and was careful not to endanger others.

The prosecution told the court that Neal had deliberately endangered others for his own gratification and ignored warnings by health authorities to practice safe sex and tell partners of his HIV status.

The court also heard Neal bragged about infecting 75 people, telling one person he “gets off” on it.

The high profile case has caused wide controversy. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Robert Hall was stood down last year, with Health Minister Bronwyn Pike citing the Neal case as a factor in the dismissal, saying Hall should have notified her office sooner.

A pre-sentence hearing will be held in October.

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