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Australian man receives 12 years for intentional HIV infections #HIV #AIDS

Australian man receives 12 years for intentional HIV infections #HIV #AIDS

When it comes right down to it, stories like these are the ones that get the most traction in terms of HIV in the news.  An Australian man who bragged for being responsible for most a reported 100 infections has received 12 years in prison for doing so, cut down from the original 19 year sentence:

The appeal judges set aside Neal’s original jail term and resentenced him to 12 years’ jail, to serve a minimum of nine years. His appeal against conviction was partly allowed. Three charges of reckless conduct endangering a person, two of rape, one of introducing a drug of dependence into the body of another and one of administering a drug for the purpose of sexual penetration were all quashed. The ruling allows the prosecution to re-try Neal on those counts if it chooses. Neal’s trial heard allegations he had unprotected sex without telling his partners he had HIV and arranged “conversion parties” to infect people. He mainly met his victims at gay venues, on gay websites or at gay beats. In July 2008 a Victorian County Court jury found Neal guilty on 15 counts, including two of rape and eight of trying to infect another person with HIV. In setting a new minimum term on Wednesday, the appeal judges took into account that Neal is suffering from HIV and his time in jail is particularly burdensome. But the judges said the risks of him reoffending and the need for community protection meant a shorter non-parole period than normal was not warranted. Neal, a grandfather from Coburg, continued his offending until his arrest, despite repeated warnings from the Department of Human Services (DHS) about his behaviour. The jury in his two-month trial heard Neal ignored warnings by DHS authorities to practise safe sex and tell partners of his status after being diagnosed in 2000. He also defied later restrictions barring him from gay sex venues and having unprotected sex.

I’ve made it clear in previous posts about my stance on criminalizing HIV infection, and to me it’s impossible to make an argument for anything less than jail in this instance.  There’s a world of difference between a condom breaking or other accidental exposure and this.

 

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