The trial of Stuart McDonald – the 41 year-old Adelaide man accused of ‘recklessly’ infecting eight men with HIV between January 2001 and January 2006 – has been delayed again until at least May, because the prosecution needs more time.
According to a report in The Australian, he again appeared in the Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty to eight charges of
having unprotected sex with the men while knowing he had the HIV AIDS virus and knowing the acts were likely to endanger their lives and intending or being recklessly indifferent to endangering their lives.
He also pleaded not guilty to raping, assaulting and threatening the life of one of the men in February 2005.
Justice Kevin Duggan told the court he was “anxious” to list the case for trial “as soon as possible”. Crown prosecutor Dominic Petraccaro said the prosecution was not in a position to list the case yet. “It’s obviously a complicated trial,” he said.
Justice Duggan adjourned the case until next month (May 1) saying he would like the prosecution and defence to be in a position then to indicate when it was anticipated the trial might be able to commence.
Mr McDonald was the first person to be detained without charge under South Australia’s public health Act, in April 2007, and he remains in custody awaiting his trial.
Stuart McDonald finally pleads not guilty; trial begins next month
Stuart McDonald, the Adelaide man accused of infecting eight men with HIV in 2005 and 2006 after meeting them via a gay dating site and who has been awaiting trial since his 2007 arrest, has now pleaded not guilty and his trial will begin next month in the South Australian Supreme Court.
According to a brief report from ABC News online, he pleaded not guilty to eight counts of endangering life by having unprotected sex, one count of rape, one count of threatening to kill, and one count of assault.
Another article in the Adeleide Advertiser includes some ridiculously irrelevent ‘facts’ about Mr McDonald, such as his pubic hair colour, but also mentions that one the complainants originally failed to pick him out of an identity parade.
Today, the alleged victim said he took part in a police identification line-up after he learned he had been infected.
The court has heard McDonald was in that line-up and given the number six.
The alleged victim said he picked the fifth man in the line-up.
“That was when I saw number six smirk,” he said.
“I looked closer, analysing his face, his eyebrow shape, his gaunt cheeks and his olive skin and realised I’d picked the wrong man.”
Victims charged $35,000 in HIV case
THE State Government is demanding victims of alleged HIV sex predator Stuart McDonald pay up to $35,000 to access crucial information about him.
Lawyers for a man suing the state over his alleged HIV infection accused the Government of threatening victims with “financial ruin” to stop them pursuing compensation claims.
They said demands of $35,000 just to inspect documents were “outrageous”.
The Victorian man and another alleged victim have launched District Court claims.
They argue authorities failed to properly supervise McDonald when he was subject to a Health Department control order. McDonald, 42, is alleged to have “deliberately and recklessly” infected eight men with the HIV virus between January, 2005, and mid-2006.
One claimant’s lawyer, Leo Redden, wrote to the Crown Solicitor’s office seeking access to documents from the Health Department and a Sexually Transmitted Diseases clinic relating to McDonald’s control order.
A letter from the Crown Solicitor’s office said there were “approximately 2000 documents potentially within the scope of your request.”
“This would amount to some 170 hours’ work. The cost, therefore is likely to be in excess of $35,000,” it said. “Could you please confirm your client is aware of this and is agreeable to pay the relevant costs.”
In a strongly worded reply, Mr Redden accused the state of using threats against his client.
“The suggestion that (my client) and others could each be liable to the State of South Australia for an amount of $35,000 is outrageous and appears to be nothing more than an in terrorem threat, designed to dissuade our clients from pursuing their legal entitlements,” he wrote.
“It is aimed at allowing a powerful litigant such . . . to threaten financial ruin to members of the public.”
The alleged victim, 31, who lives in Melbourne, claims to have been infected by McDonald after they met on an internet dating site. Prosecutors have alleged McDonald infected eight victims after meeting them through the Gaydar website – at the same time he was subject to the Government control order.
More delays in court case of alleged HIV predator Stuart McDonald
The case against alleged HIV sex predator Stuart McDonald has been delayed once again, this time until August.
The 42-year-old – accused of deliberately and recklessly infecting eight men – was due to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today and enter pleas.
However, prosecution and defence made a joint application that the case be adjourned for eight weeks.
John Wells, for the Crown, said there were outstanding medical reports and other materials yet to be provided to defence counsel.
McDonald is yet to plead to allegations he infected eight men with HIV between January, 2005, and the middle of 2006.
He allegedly lied to some of the men, whom he met through the Gaydar website, about the virus before having sex with them.
He also faces charges of common assault and threatening life.
Psychiatric reports on the court file say McDonald has a narcissistic personality and was dismissive about infecting others, saying “that’s their problem”.
They further claim he poses a “significant risk” of having sex with men if left unsupervised.
Despite those fears, McDonald was in February released from a bail agreement that had him living with a family of four.
He successfully argued the arrangement was ruining the family’s social life, as he was sleeping in their dining room.
McDonald was given permission by the court to live on his own, but told to attend court when required.
Magistrate Alfio Grasso today remanded McDonald on continuing bail.
'HIV offender' freed from dining room
Mr McDonald wept as the Adelaide Magistrates Court ruled he could move out of a suburban home he has been sharing with a host family of four – a house in which he has been confined to the dining room.
Mr McDonald sought to have his home detention bail loosened, calling it an “oppressive regime”, which was affecting not only his mental health but the social life and wellbeing of his host family.
Mr McDonald has yet to answer allegations he recklessly and deliberately infected eight men with HIV through unprotected sex.
Prosecutors have long opposed the bail variation, saying Mr McDonald could approach, have sex with, and infect more men if not under the strictest form of continuous supervision.
HIV 'predator' set for own home
ALLEGED HIV sex offender Stuart McDonald left court today with a smile on his face, having moved a step closer to living on his own. The Adelaide Magistrates Court agreed to consider relaxing the strict bail imposed on McDonald, who is accused of recklessly and deliberately infecting eight men with HIV. If successful, he will move out of the suburban home he shares with a family of four, who say they struggle to live under his “oppressive regime”.
The ruling comes despite fears McDonald will again have unprotected sex if not closely supervised. “If he were to abuse any newfound freedoms and expose another person to HIV infection, there would be enormously serious consequences,” prosecutor John Wells said. “HIV is a major health problem, and the consequences are dire not only for McDonald’s sex partners, but for others exposed to the disease.”
The 42-year-old has yet to plead to allegations he infected the men between January 2005 and the middle of last year. It is alleged he was later dismissive about infecting others, saying “that’s their problem”. McDonald was released in June, under home detention conditions, to live in the family’s granny flat. Problems with electronic monitoring meant he had to move into their dining room. In a letter, the family told the court their social life was now “in ruins”. They said McDonald lived under an “oppressive regime” of constant checks by authorities.
Today Mick Woods, for McDonald, said his client spent eight hours a day alone while the family attended work and school. He had spent 10 days alone last year while they went on holiday. “In all honesty, he has demonstrated quite clearly and unequivocally he will comply with the terms of his bail,” he said. Mr Wells said that was all the more reason to maintain the status quo.
“Compliance is a requirement of bail, and he should not be rewarded for obeying the law,” he said. Chief Magistrate Liz Bolton remanded McDonald on his existing bail, ordering a report be prepared in time for a hearing next month.
Man sues in HIV case
The South Australian Government is being sued for allegedly failing to prevent a man from being infected with HIV.
The young man alleges he was deliberately infected by Stuart McDonald, 39, who has been charged with endangering the life of several men he had sex with.
McDonald’s movements are restricted by home detention conditions.
The alleged victim’s lawyer, Peter Humphries, argues the SA Health Department should have better managed McDonald.
Mr Humphries says his client had unprotected sex with McDonald in October 2005.
“That was at a time, as far as we understand it, at least two reports had been made to the Health Department of McDonald’s practice of engaging in sexual activity without protection, knowingly full well he was carrying the HIV virus,” he said.
Mr Humphries says his client, aged in his 20s, is angry that his life has potentially been cut short.
“I think it’s probably fair to say the main one’s anger, that he’s been put in this position needlessly,” he said.
“Had McDonald been put under some sort of control orders, given his complete lack of interest in exercising self control, then this whole thing would have been avoided.”