Man found guilty of ‘intentionally’ infecting women with HIV
Defendant remanded in custody and could be sentenced to life in prison later this month
Judge Martin Nolan has said he will sentnece a man, found guilty of causing serious harm to two former partners by infecting them with HIV, at the end of July.
An African national convicted of causing serious harm to two former partners by infecting them with HIV will be sentenced later this month.
In the first case of its kind here, the State alleged that the 28-year-old man was aware of his diagnosis when he infected the women and that this amounted to serious harm. The man, who lives in Dublin, cannot be named to protect the identities of the complainants in the case. He had pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to the two women on dates between November 2009 and June 2010.
After an eleven-day trial and just under four and a half hours of deliberations, a jury of nine women and three men returned unanimous guilty verdicts on both charges.
Judge Martin Nolan refused an defence application for bail. He said there was some risk of the man fleeing and that a custodial sentence was quite likely. The maximum penalty for the offence is life. The judge remanded the man in custody to appear again in court on July 26th for a sentence hearing.
He thanked the jury for the carrying out its duty and said the case had been a pretty difficult one with unusual type of evidence.
In his closing speech to the jury on Tuesday, prosecution counsel Dominic McGinn SC submitted that expert witnesses had said that all three parties had the same subtype and mutations of the virus.
‘Remarkably similar accounts’
Mr McGinn said the complainants had “remarkably similar” accounts and said they used condoms with previous partners. He reminded the jury that it had heard condoms, “if used correctly, effectively stop transmission” and that oral sex does not lead to infection.
He said there was no evidence that any of the complainants’ previous partners were HIV positive. He told the jury the man lied to the complainants’ doctor about his positive diagnosis and “went through the charade” of being tested again for the virus in 2010.
“He knew full well he was HIV positive. He was advised about having safe sex. He admitted that to gardaí and he was given anti-viral medication and he didn’t take it,” Mr McGinn said.
Mr McGinn told the jury that the accused was guilty on both charges against him because he acted recklessly and caused serious harm to the complainants. In his closing speech, defence counsel Paul Greene SC told the jury that both of the complainants told lies in court about their previous sexual history. He suggested this meant their overall evidence was unreliable.
He reminded them that defence expert witness Professor Andrew Leigh Brown’s evidence was that this was the first criminal trial at which he had given expert advice where phylogenetic analysis was not carried out, and that this analysis was effective at excluding potential sources of infection. Prof Leigh Brown agreed with Mr McGinn under cross-examination that this analysis “can never actually establish that one person gave it to another.” During the application for bail Garda Sergeant Mark Waters told Gareth Baker BL that he was objecting to bail on the basis that the man now posed a flight risk.
He said that while he has a number of children here, their mothers have said he does see them. Mr Greene submitted that his client was not a flight risk, was resident here since 2008 and had a real interest in staying here and was still in the process of seeking asylum. He said he was on combination medication therapy here to treat his virus. Counsel said the man, who may also have a child in the UK, had instructed him that his children here were important to him.