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Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?

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Rob - Dublin:
I was infected in January this year by a London based Irish guy I met one night at a college reunion. Sex was not meant to happen but it did and he asked me not to use a condom as he always has a skin reaction to them. I asked if he was + or - and he said most definitely negative. Anyway we had sex without the condom and I did not cum in him. That was that, a one night stand and while there was some contact with him from his online site, that was it. After I found out I was positive at the end of January I looked up his online profile and he had taken it down. I thought it strange and yes I was annoyed cause I know nobody else has given me HIV. I have spoken to another guy who knows him and have discretely asked him about the guy. The guy knows he is positive he was also able to tell me that he is not on meds. Needless to say I was annoyed to hear that the bastard knew he was positive before I had sex with him and didn't tell me BUT, I am a big boy and should have known better and should have followed the instinct that I have followed for 10 years in these situations. I have not lost any sleep over him and have moved on (albeit with HIV that I didn't have before he lied to me).

I got a call on Thursday from a guy (Karl) that I went to college with who lives in London and who was coming to Dublin for the weekend and asked could we meet. We both know each other is gay and we met for breakfast this morning and to make a very long story as short as possible, he told me that he was told earlier in the week that he was positive. And to make an even longer story even shorter, he says he knows for certain who it is that gave it to him.

Now, in talking about his HIV, I told him of my situation and how I learned in May that I was positive also. I told him how it happened and in the course of the discussion it now appears and appears certain that the guy who gave me HIV is the same guy who infected Karl. How we know this is because the guy was also in college with us and while any of us have not been close friends we meet at various events from time to time.

Karl was infected in exactly the same way as I was, in that the London guy didn't want to use a condom and said clearly he was NOT positive.

Karl has tried to speak to the London guy since becoming infected by him but he keeps avoiding him. Karl is very angry, hurt and emotionally fucked by the experience. He is 28 and a 'good guy' who wouldn't ever seek to inflict a lie on someone not to mind HIV.

The reason for Karl's visit to me is that he now wants to take the London guy to court and seek a declaration that he knowingly infected him by virtue of the fact that he was aware that he had HIV at the time of having sex and lied about that fact. Karl, the London guy and I are Lawyers and Karl had intended asking me to lead the case for him in the London courts. Needless to say this presents an enormous difficulty for me, namely-

1. Do I want to take a case such as this?
2. Do I want to take a case such as this which I believe would attract enormous media attendion in the United Kingdom and Ireland?
3. How do I feel now that there are two of us infected in the same way by this bastard and do I want to see justice for myself for what has happened?
4. Would taking a case stop him doing the same to others?
5. A whole lot more things that I have not thought out yet.

The possibility exists for Kark in making a complaint to the police in the UK and letting them make a case to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) as opposed to leading a case for Karl. It is important to say that there are two reasons Karl wants to take a private case against the London guy.

1. Primarily to stop him from infecting people.
2. The declaration (if given by a court) would allow Karl take a civil suit against the guy for financial compensation. This would most likely be a test case in the UK and would I believe succeed.

The London guy is independently wealthy and has a successful career at present. It would appear his HIV is not affecting him at present, if that changes in the future, it would of course have an impact on his career and income.

I have left Karl now and said I will consider all we have discussed. I am acutely aware that he is very upset and have asked him to take time to consider his actions, thoughts and feelings before he embarks on any course of action.

I suppose I should say at this point that my own views on this and my usual reaction to such matters is to carefully consider and investigate all options and ensure that actions are not immediate when time and reflection are required especially in emotional matters, which this is primarily.

I have a very successful career in my own specific corporate legal sector and while justice is my main objective in any legal matter I handle, but being a little selfish for a moment, I could I presume say goodbye to a post in the judiciary here in Ireland, if I had to and I most likely would have to reveal my own HIV status. I would also say that personally, I have no interest in suing this guy but he must be stopped from deliberately infecting innocent people.

Sorry this is so long  but I would welcome your views and thoughts on the matter.

Rob

Cliff:
Rob-- Funny you bring this up.  In another thread, I wondered why these cases haven't become civil matters and apparently they will be (possibly).

I can't say what you should do.  That's up to you to decide.  But I will say this...

1.  You both believe you were infected by having unprotected sex as the insertor (and did not cum inside him).  I always thought it was more difficult for the bottom to transmit to the top.  Not that it's impossible, but that it's harder.  I say that only to wonder if both of you have truly considered the possibility that you were already infected by other means (another person), but have conveniently come to the conclusion that it was this guy simply out of coincidence (i.e., the sex happened near status reveal date)?

2.  You say you want him to stop doing this.  That's a good reason.  But have you thought about other options that could help him stop having unprotected sex, without disclosure?  Such as reporting him to the health authorities and letting them counsel him.

3.  Are you truly prepared to deal with the consequences, both positive and negative, from starting this case?  If it means a possible detour to your career, are you okay with that?  Are you okay with outing yourself to the world (in such a manner)?

Honestly, I can understand how difficult it is to get over the way in which we are infected.  I still deal with it.  But at the end of the day, I'm no dummy.  I knew better but made the wrong decision.  It happened.  I have to move forward and onwards.  I think the same is true for you.

It's happened.  But it doesn't have to mean your life is any less valuable or filled with promise.  You still have a great career ahead of you.  Presumably good friends and a loving family.  That hasn't changed one bit, has it?

Best of luck to you, no matter what you decide,

Cliff

Lisa:
I was all prepared to give the exact same advice offered by Cliff, til I opened a reply, and saw that he already stated the same points I would have made.

......What Cliff said........

Best wishes.

Rob - Dublin:
Hi Cliff,

I understand your points, however it is imperative to point our that in relation to your point below -

You both believe you were infected by having unprotected sex as the insertor (and did not cum inside him).  I always thought it was more difficult for the bottom to transmit to the top.  Not that it's impossible, but that it's harder.  I say that only to wonder if both of you have truly considered the possibility that you were already infected by other means (another person), but have conveniently come to the conclusion that it was this guy simply out of coincidence (i.e., the sex happened near status reveal date)?[/i

While it may appear coincidental that we were both infected as we say by the same person, our dates and our otherwise non involvement in unprotected sex are conclusive proof to us of this, I am certain. While I can only be 100% conclusive for myself, I believe Karl is of the same opinion and certainty. Stats will tell us that it is more difficult to contract HIV from bottom to top as opposed to vice verse, this is the case in this situation, strange as it appears.

Rob

Cliff:
Fair enough Rob.  Though to be honest, it's probably a moot point as before prosecution would begin, (I assume this would be a case in the UK), the authorities would need to confirm a genetic match between your strains.  So expect those sorts of questions from others (and then some).

Are the rules different for a civil cases?  I assume you need not prove a genetic match, but he would be stupid not to argue that you guys could have been infected by someone else.  To which, if I were on the jury, (not sure if they do jury civil trails here in the UK or Ireland), I would personally need more supporting evidence than merely a statement that you have never had unprotected sex with anyone else, (at least subsequent to your last verifable, negative tests).

BTW, if you decide to start a criminal prosecution in Ireland, would he have to be extradicted to Ireland?  And if you did a civil case in Ireland, would you be able to get to his assets in the UK, should he choose to ignore the case?

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