HIV-positive man sentenced to 14 months in jail
A former poster child for hemophiliacs was handed 14 months in jail Monday, becoming the first person in Niagara sentenced for failing to tell sexual partners he is HIV positive.
PG, 34, contracted HIV through a tainted blood transfusion in the 1980s when he was nine years old.
“I deeply regret you are so sick,” Judge Donald Taliano said, adding that PG had been dealt a cruel hand.
But the judge said the behaviour that led to G’s imprisonment was “callous” and “selfish.”
G pleaded guilty in April to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual assault on two St. Catharines women.
Court had heard that G was warned by medical professionals not to have unprotected sex because he could endanger his partners.
Despite the warnings, he had unprotected sex with a woman between March 1, 1998, and Sept. 20, 2003. After the relationship ended, he had unprotected sex with a second woman between July 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2005.
Neither woman contracted HIV, but court heard both victims have been negatively impacted.
“It has been significant,” Taliano said.
The Crown asked for two years in jail, minus pre-trial custody, for a total of 20 months. G’s lawyer, Peter Barr, asked for house arrest of no more than 12 months.
Barr had argued his client’s severe hemophilia would make it difficult for him to serve time in jail.
G has 15 to 20 “bleeds” annually and needs injections promptly, court heard.
But Taliano said there was no evidence the jail system is unable to take care of G’s medical needs.
He’s been in custody at Niagara Detection Centre in Thorold for two months and his health has not been impacted, the judge said.
G was put in segregation because he could bleed uncontrollably if injured by other prisoners. He has to be monitored all the time, so the lights are always on in his cell.
Taliano said denunciation and deterrence must be part of G’s sentence.
G, who had no criminal record, was respected and admired by family and friends, yet put the lives of people he cared about in great danger, Taliano said.
The judge said he “shuddered” to think what others without the same character traits would do.
“Unless there are extraordinary circumstances, a period of prison must be imposed,” Taliano said.
Both women have had difficulty trusting others because of G’s betrayal.
One woman told court earlier this month that her life had been turned upside down after months of anxiety.
“I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. It consumed my every thought,” the woman testified.
She went to counselling to deal with the trauma.
The other woman was outgoing prior to the relationship, but afterwards became withdrawn. She waited six months to find out if she was HIV positive, stopped sleeping, started drinking and lost her job.
G has had a string of medical problems. A poster child for the Canadian Hemophilia Society for five years, he received tainted blood from a transfusion in 1985.
In 2002, he was diagnosed with cancer and has been in remission for five years.
G’s sentence of seven months in jail for each count will be followed by one year of probation.
Sentencing postponed for man who didn't tell partners he was HIV-positive
Green opts for custody until Sept. 11 hearing
By Karena Walter, The St. Catharines Standard
The first person in Niagara to be charged criminally for failing to tell a sexual partner he was HIV-positive will be sentenced this fall.
Patrick Green, 34, was scheduled to be sentenced in Superior Court on Tuesday, but presiding Judge Donald Taliano was not available.
The St. Catharines man pleaded guilty on April 25 to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual assault on two St. Catharines women.
Green voluntarily put himself into custody on Tuesday.
His lawyer, Peter Barr, told fill-in Judge Joseph Quinn that his client requested his judicial release order be cancelled.
Green was anticipating custody and “set his mind to it,” Barr said.
Assistant Crown attorney Rick Monette said he had no objection. Green removed his tie and went with officers to the holding cells.
The sentencing hearing was adjourned to Sept. 11.
Green was arrested by police in December 2005 following a complaint from a woman who claimed her sexual partner didn’t tell her he was HIV-positive. A second charge was laid later that month involving another complainant.
A hemophiliac, Green was given a tainted blood transfusion in the 1980s.
He was diagnosed as being HIV-positive years before he had sex with the women, whose identities are protected under a publication ban.
Canada’s HIV exposure laws are just going too, too far. Now, a “former poster child” for HIV-positive hemophiliacs has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for having unprotected sex with two women without disclosing his HIV status. Neither women became HIV-positive.
The 34 year-old man, from Niagara, Ontario, who was infected with HIV at the age of nine, and was diagnosed with cancer in 2002, was not considered sick enough to serve his sentence in the community.
The two complainants testified that it had been so distressing to find out a man they had slept with had HIV that they became unwell themselves.
I don’t doubt the veracity of their statements, but one has to wonder whether Canada’s laws, which suggest that he is totally responsibile for the way they responded to the ‘shock’ of finding out a sexual partner was HIV-positive, completely undoes every safer sex message ever made?
Doesn’t their response say more about these women’s notions of responsibility and blame and the stigma of HIV than serve as evidence of a ‘crime’?