Australia: Man pleads guilty to infecting wife, gets three years


March 15, 2009
Source: Herald Sun

A court in Victoria, Australia has sentenced an HIV-positive haemophiliac to three years in prison after he pleaded guilty to not informing his wife of his HIV status and subsequently infecting her.

In order to protect the wife’s identity, the man’s name has not been published in any of the reports, and even the name of the town or city in Victoria where they live is not mentioned.

The case was first reported last month in the Herald Sun.


A man who infected his wife with HIV did not tell her he had the virus because he was scared she would leave him, a court heard yesterday. The 39-year-old caught HIV as a teenager from a hospital blood transfusion during his treatment for haemophilia. The County Court heard he began a relationship in January 1996 with his future wife and continued to have unprotected sex with her despite knowing the dangers. Prosecutor Claire Quin said the woman soon became ill – losing 10kg in a week – and was diagnosed with the virus. But Mrs Quin said the man kept his secret for another year, leading his girlfriend to believe one of them must have caught the virus from a previous partner. The court heard they married in 2001 and did not reveal their HIV status to the woman’s family until they separated in 2007. Mrs Quin said the man told police he knew the more times he had unprotected sex with his wife the higher her chances of catching the disease. But he said his way of dealing with his problem was to ignore it. “She would not be in a relationship with me if she knew the truth,” he said.

This week the man was sentenced to three years in prison by Judge Thomas Wodak, according to a second report in the Herald Sun.

Judge Wodak said the man had shown a contemptible and callous disregard for the woman he professed to love. “You acted with gross irresponsibly and selfishness,” he said. “The most likely explanation for your conduct is that you put your own feelings and needs ahead of responsibility, decency and concern for (the woman’s) well-being.” Judge Wodak said in jailing the man for a maximum of five years, that his poor health would make jail harder for him and he deserved a sentencing discount for his plea of guilty.

A report on the case in the Sydney Morning Herald focuses primarily on the impact of HIV on the wife. It begins:

A woman infected with HIV by her husband says her life has been destroyed by the disease, which has left her unemployable and unable to sign her own name.