Bermuda: Man arrested for HIV exposure; fifth prosecution amongst HIV population of 200


November 11, 2009
Source: Royal Gazette

A 44 year-old man has been arrested and charged under Bermuda’s sexual assault laws for having unprotected sex without disclosing his HIV status.

There are only around 200 people living with HIV in the island nation, and yet five people have been prosecuted since Bermuda passed an HIV-specific law in 1993.

The law criminalises people living with HIV who have sex that “involves conctact between any part of his body and any part of the body of another person” that is “capable of resulting in transfer of body fluids to that other person” without first disclosing their HIV-status. This “sexual assault” can result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

The first case, in 1995, resulted in a 14 year prison sentence for a man who pleaded guilty after the complainant tested HIV-positive.

A second conviction in 1999 where the complainant did not test positive, led to a 10 year prison sentence, reduced to six years on appeal.

A man was acquitted of all charges in a 2004 trial.

The most recent case was last year, reported on my blog here, and highlighted by Edwin Cameron in several of his speeches and writings.