UK: HIV-positive woman who bit her best friend gets suspended sentence


May 9, 2009
Source: Thisisplymouth

Despite the best attempts of the prosecution to focus on the HIV status of a 24 year-old Plymouth woman who bit her best friend on the arm and cheek during a drunken row – and to overstate the risks of HIV transmission – she has only received an eight month sentence suspended for two years with two years probation. She was also ordered to attend anger and alcohol management classes.

According to the Plymouth Herald, the woman pleaded guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm. David Gittins, prosecuting focused on her friend’s fear that she would “catch the virus” even though this was not part of the charges.

Mr Gittins said [the woman] knew she had HIV when she bit her friend. Police were called and [she] claimed she had acted in self-defence. Mr Gittins said: “[The best friend] was frightened she might get HIV, but she hasn’t.”

Judge Francis Gilbert told her, during sentencing:

“This was a violent and vicious thing to do,” he said. “It probably caused very great pain and it may have resulted in very serious consequences. You have HIV and you knew it at the time,” the judge went on… “You deserve to go to prison.”