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Author Topic: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?  (Read 8413 times)

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Offline Rob - Dublin

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  • Posts: 51
Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« on: June 24, 2006, 01:04:36 PM »
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
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline Cliff

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2006, 02:29:26 PM »
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
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 02:35:26 PM by Cliff »

Offline Lisa

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2006, 02:34:26 PM »
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.
No Fear  No Shame  No Stigma
Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have.

Offline Rob - Dublin

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2006, 03:04:48 PM »
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
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline Cliff

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2006, 03:23:46 PM »
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?

Offline Rob - Dublin

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2006, 03:41:37 PM »
Cliff, that is possibly the most relevant point of my deliberations on the whole matter. Even for Karl's case to succeed it WOULD be necessary for us to prove a genetic match. The London guy assuming he defended the case could ask his legal team to also request a genetic match to him in the hope that it would not. The problem this poses is that specialist genetic microbiologists and other medical professionals would have to prove this point and as i'm not a medical doctor or medical lawyer I would not know even if this point can be proved as replicating HIV in cells may become anonymous to genetic links every 24 hours if my information is correct.

On the point of juristiction for any possible case. Britain is the most like venue as the guy is resident there. He is presumable an Irish citizen and as my infection took place in the Irish juristiction it would be possible to have an Irish court accept juristiction. As any possible case would seek initialy to apportion responsibility to teh London guy, even if the case was to be heard in Ireland, the guy would be served court papers and it would be in his own interests to defend the case. If he did not choose to defend the case evidence presented by the plaintiff may be accepted and a declaration given in favour of Karl and his case. This would then allow a civil case take place.

If the declaration case was heard in Ireland followed by a civil case and an award was made against the London guy, Ireland could in exceptional circumstances issues warrants for the seisure of assets in the country of residence of the guy.


Rob
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline Rob - Dublin

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  • Posts: 51
Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2006, 03:43:19 PM »
Cliff, that is possibly the most relevant point of my deliberations on the whole matter. Even for Karl's case to succeed it WOULD be necessary for us to prove a genetic match. The London guy assuming he defended the case could ask his legal team to also request a genetic match to him in the hope that it would not. The problem this poses is that specialist genetic microbiologists and other medical professionals would have to prove this point and as i'm not a medical doctor or medical lawyer I would not know even if this point can be proved as replicating HIV in cells may become anonymous to genetic links every 24 hours if my information is correct.

On the point of jurisdiction for any possible case. Britain is the most like venue as the guy is resident there. He is presumable an Irish citizen and as my infection took place in the Irish jurisdiction it would be possible to have an Irish court accept jurisdiction. As any possible case would seek initially to apportion responsibility to the London guy, even if the case was to be heard in Ireland, the guy would be served court papers and it would be in his own interests to defend the case. If he did not choose to defend the case evidence presented by the plaintiff may be accepted and a declaration given in favour of Karl and his case. This would then allow a civil case take place.

If the declaration case was heard in Ireland followed by a civil case and an award was made against the London guy, Ireland could in exceptional circumstances issues warrants for the seizure of assets in the country of residence of the guy.

Rob (Sorry, this one has the spell check WORKING)
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline water duck

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  • Posts: 397
Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2006, 03:45:51 PM »
Rob,

If i would a judge, and have two parties before me, one party is lying, then it's the duty of the lawyers to prove that.
If both of you can proved beyond a shade of a doubt that it's this guy who give you both HIV, then you must not represent Karl; you must actually get someone else to represent the both of you. In court, the identity of the client can be kept a secret no ?? only know to the judge. You tell me, you are the lawyer.

DO WHAT YOUR HEART TELL YOU. One way or the other , the truth will always see the light of day.

Wishing you lots of good luck and courage !!

Siang

Offline Christine

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2006, 03:52:13 PM »
Hello,

I read your post earlier, and have been thinking about it. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Like Cliff stated, how do you know for 100% sure he is the one who infected both of you?
2. How can that infection be proved in court? Is it possible to trace the virus from person to person?
3. Again, like Cliff stated, are you willing to put your career, your personal sexual history out there for all the world to see. And in a case like this, EVERYTHING, perhaps things that are not even true would be brought forth.
4. In regards to risking your career, could you afford to loose your current job? Would you loose your health benefits? How would you handle medical & pharmacy bills?
5. How would your family do with a public court case?

Lastly, if he is the type of person who would knowingly infect others, would a court case change his future behaviors? Maybe, maybe not.

In my opinion, as a person who had unprotected sex also, everyone has a responsibility to protect themselves. Most adults understand that there are people in the world who lie, and some who are sadistic, and knowing this we should have made the choice to protect ourselves. Does that make what he did any less wrong? No. You and the other person should have been told the truth of his status, so you could make an informed consent or decline. But ultimately, condoms should have been used by all involved.

If he is intentionally spreading hiv, should he be held accountable? Absolutely, but how do you prove intent? What if he claims he told both of you he was +, and you both knew, and choose to have unprotected sex. If it comes down to your word against his, how do you legally prove who is telling the truth?

This is such a complicated issue. I would do a lot of personal soul searching, and also some legal research before I made any decisions.

Christine
Poz since '93. Currently on Procrit, Azithromax, Pentamidine, Valcyte, Levothyroxine, Zoloft, Epzicom, Prezista, Viread, Norvir, and GS-9137 study drug. As needed: Trazodone, Atavan, Diflucan, Zofran, Hydrocodone, Octreotide

5/30/07 t-cells 9; vl 275,000

Offline alisenjafi

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2006, 06:33:33 PM »
I thought the offender had to knowingly give you an std to be prosecuted. Can you prove that? Also aren't you going to give the courts fodder for your own sexual habits.It has been mentioned before and many times, that it takes two to tango all parties need to be responsible and clearly you haven't.
Not to chastise you but when the crime de jour shifts from kiddy sex on the internet to this ,only lawyers will make out and will cause major havoc with all people infected. it also gives more ammo to those who think gays shouldn't be allowed to have sex in the first place.
It is one thing if you are in a monogamous relationship and your honey infects you and something else if you have the horn and don't let common sense rule.  Good luck on what ever you decide.
Johnny - who has no legal background
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Offline Joe K

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  • 31 Years Poz
Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2006, 06:39:55 PM »
Hey Rob,

I don't know the laws of the UK, but is it illegal to have penetrative sex with someone, while knowing you are poz, without disclosing?  I would think that this would be the angle you would follow if you could.  Isn't it enough that this guy is engaging in unsafe sex, when he knows his status?  Isn't he breaking some law?

I'm all for personal responsibility and while you take your responsibility for what happened, he did something that I believe is criminal.  I suppose you have to decide what you want to come of this and then the decision on what to pursue and how, may become more clear.

Offline bear60

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2006, 07:03:31 PM »
"Also aren't you going to give the courts fodder for your own sexual habits.It has been mentioned before and many times, that it takes two to tango all parties need to be responsible and clearly you haven't."

Isnt this like the girl who cries RAPE......? Then they rake HER over the coals to prove she is a bad apple and was leading the guy on etc etc.  I just cant imagine,  myself, getting involved with a court case over this. Are you really prepared to come off as the "wronged" party? And what do you want to achieve by the lawsuit,  if I may ask?
« Last Edit: June 24, 2006, 07:05:11 PM by bear60 »
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2006, 07:14:01 PM »
using a law that presupposes the status of HIV positive persons as potential predators might help you in the short run. In the long run, you would simply be adding to the stigma which someday you shall face.

Was your partner's deception morally reprehensible? I think so.

Was your lack of personal responsibility a factor? That's for you to decide.

This man can't "do this to other people" if the other people use condoms. Unless and until we accept responsibility for our own health choices, we are forever second class citizens. We are either innocent victims or deadly dangerous pariahs. Either way, the mantle of adult responsibility is not ours to wear.

I am neither a criminal nor a child. I have made my choices, and for better or worse, I live with the consequences of my choices.

My suggestion would be to take that anger and put it into HIV outreach and condom education. I am sure there are a multitude of volunteer organizations which need that energy, that rage, that strength.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2006, 07:51:24 PM »
The cycle of blame and retribution when it comes to HIV is ultimately most unsatisfying. With all due respect to you Rob, I wonder if this really is about stopping this fellow from infecting others. I mean it's easy to cloak good old fashioned vengeance with virtue.

If one pursues blame to it's logical conclusion one invariably finds that it comes right back to you. You could have used condoms but you didn't. Thus you were infected. That's the inevitable bottom line. Cases of rape, are of course the exception and even then, sexual assault can be dealt with under other criminal provisions.

Obviously what you do, is up to to you. I suspect that if you launch or caused to be launched, a prosecution of this sort you may well find that processes of law and justice are two entirely different beasts.

MtD

Offline Terry

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2006, 08:07:39 PM »
This sounds like a “he said She said” issue.  What’s to stop this guy from suing you and Karl for infecting him? Also, didn’t you say this was consensual sex between two adults?

If anyone had asked me from1982 to 1994 if I were HIV positive I would have emphatically said NO! I truly felt I had never been expose to HIV. I’ve been celibate since 82 so it’s been a non-issue with me.

You say he’s wealthy. Hell if you came after me with these charges I'd go after your jugular and every penny you have. Good luck in whatever you decide to do but I'd think long and hard before pointing the finger of responsibility. Another thing, we are hearing only your side of the story.

Terry (Just my opinion not judgment.)

Offline lydgate

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2006, 08:36:18 PM »
What about the mens rea problem? Jay
Her finely-touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, final paragraph

Offline Oceanbeach

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2006, 08:58:42 PM »
In 1994, there was no legal recourse in HIV issues, proof of transmission would have been another issue.  Now he is dead.  There is no point.

There was a guy from Germany, I knew in my L.A. support group.  He was living there on an expired tourist visa and was infected by a BF who was in the American military.  He did file charges against the military and was deported.  Do not know how or if anthings transpired in his case.  Have the best day
Michael
(who did not forget to put roses on the grave)

www.Commission-on-AIDS.org

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2006, 04:21:13 AM »
I can tell you that court action is a long drawn out process, so you have to be prepared to be patient. It is also stressful, more emotionally than anything else.

I agree with the arguments here that personal sexual responsibility is not being put out there enough and I agree that it is crucial and essential for that to change.

However, every case of hiv transmission is not black and white. There are many different scenarios and different levels of deception and therefore, I believe, different levels of repercussions and/or retribution.

I do not believe that a decision to take legal action is adding to the stigma of hiv+ people as predators, although some may interpret it as so. I believe it is sending out the important message that knowingly deceiving someone and putting their health/life at risk, and above all knowingly infecting someone, is not just immoral and unacceptable, it is criminal.

By all means use the people in your life for advice and as a sounding board, but only you can decide what is right for you - not your friends, not your family and not anybody on these forums.

The only advice I can and will offer you is this: Take as much time as you feel you need with your decision but bear in mind the time limits for reporting incidents in the UK depending on the avenues you wish to take - I'm presuming that as a lawyer you will probably know.


Best wishes

Melia 

(edited by request to remove personal information)
« Last Edit: April 30, 2007, 10:00:02 AM by Ann »
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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2006, 05:02:18 AM »
Which means, of course, that knowingly infecting yourself by putting yourself at risk (I am assuming consensual sex) should be criminal as well?

You knew I would say this.

I do not mean to persecute you. But as someone with HIV, I feel persecuted whenever soemone is prosecuted for transmitting this virus, yet no one is prosecuted for allowing it to happen.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline dario

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2006, 05:58:50 AM »
Rob,
In a way I understand your point.  Let us assume that your real motive is to stopping this chap from infecting others.  (However I think that in your subconcious you are angry and want to do  a "vendetta tremenda" - I guess this would be revenge in English).

But IMHO even if you win the case, in the long run it will be a phyrric victory.

Evil has a fascination!  Ironically more people would be tempted to copy-cat this predator who willingly infected you!  It sounds strange but that is how human nature functions. 

Some people never adequately adjust to being HIV+.  They feel cheated and angry at the world and society.  They get stuck in this phase.  They want to have their revenge and so they go around willingly spreading the bug. 

So if your court case gets a lots of publicity more predators will come forth.  They will say to themselves, "oh, that is a good idea how I can have my revenge of this stinking world and life."   Then they would add, "I'll just be clever not to be caught like this particular chap."

Of course others would say that winning such cases would scare predators .... I have my doubts ...

dario


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Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2006, 06:22:04 AM »
Hi Jonathan
I've missed our discussions! I don't want to end up hijacking Rob's thread but I do want to respond to you.
I know you already know my story. And yes I knew you would say this!

 

I remember your mantra used to be 'people suck'.
Well, one of mine is: Do as you wish as long as you are not harming anyone else.  

I know you are not persecuting me and I don't take this personally at all - I know your stance on this topic, as I believe you know mine. In the same sense though, my actions are not persecuting you personally as you are not the one who knowingly infected me.

I guess what you are saying is: Unless you know for sure they are not, then assume everyone is hiv positive. I totally get that and agree with it. But what about trust and honesty in relationships? Personal responsibility is not only applicable to sex, it is applicable in every area of life. But so is having to put your trust in others.

People/businesses are taken to court every day for fraudulent acts against others and in most cases it is about loss of money or possessions, not loss of health or life. Not the same scenarios as consensual sex I realise, but based on the same principles. In such cases the 'victims' were knowingly putting themselves at risk by entering into a situation built on trust. Are we actually to believe that such fraudsters should not be prosecuted and that such victims of crime are actually criminals too for putting themselves at risk by trusting someone? If someone can be prosecuted for knowingly deceiving someone out of their money/car/home etc, then surely it is only fitting that someone be prosecuted for knowingly deceiving someone out of their health/life?

With respect
Melia    


(edited by request to remove personal information)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 07:58:29 AM by Ann »
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Offline Ann

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2006, 07:14:51 AM »
I think a lot of people know my position on this subject. With a few exceptions, I don't think these types of prosecutions are a good idea at all.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of becoming infected with any one of a number of sexually transmitted infections. People lie and many people don't accurately know their status. A one night stand is definitely a time to err on the side of caution and disbelief.

Quite frankly Rob, as a lawyer yourself, I'm amazed that you don't realise that people lie.

If you want to know more about my opinions on this subject, check out the thread I started the other day about the recent UK conviction.

Ann
« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 07:57:22 AM by Ann »
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HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline DanielMark

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2006, 07:51:40 AM »
Rob,

I'm sorry you're in this position, but I have to agree with what Ann posted.

My body, my health, my responsibility. How can I blame the hot dude who lied to me 18 years ago? It was hardly rape, after all.

Then there’s the mayhem of what will surely become a very public matter (you know what vultures the media can be.) Do you really need that kind of added stress in your life? Probably not. If you make it your mission to out this lying rat, then you’ll have to be ready for the fallout.

I don’t envy you looking to make this decision.

Daniel
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Offline Rob - Dublin

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2006, 12:29:02 PM »
Thank you for all the replies.

I think many of you have missed an essential point (especially Ann & Daniel). I said in my original message that my own position on my infection from this guy was as a result of my own actions. I accept that and I have moved on. I have also said that I, personally have no interest or intention in taking a case against this guy.

Ann, for you to suggest and say that as a lawyer you are amazed that I didn't realise that people lie is condescending to say the least. I have dealt with the point of taking full responsibility for my own actions on that night. The issue here for me is not about the guy lying. I do not believe I ever said at any point that I intended taking this guy to court because he lied about having HIV. If you read my original message you will note that I said that while I was angry with him for infecting me, I am a big boy and it was my fault also.  The issue in question for me at this point is solely, do I assist Karl in his suggested course of action or not.

Rob
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

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Offline Cliff

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2006, 12:39:50 PM »
The problem this poses is that specialist genetic microbiologists and other medical professionals would have to prove this point and as I'm not a medical doctor or medical lawyer I would not know even if this point can be proved as replicating HIV in cells may become anonymous to genetic links every 24 hours if my information is correct.
As I understand it, the UK requires a genetic match before proceeding with criminal charges (or at least that's one requirement).  I would have to believe that there are ways of determining genetic matches, even after an extended time has past.  But this is an interesting issue and one you don't hear much about.

Quote
If the declaration case was heard in Ireland followed by a civil case and an award was made against the London guy, Ireland could in exceptional circumstances issues warrants for the seizure of assets in the country of residence of the guy.
The whole jurisdiction thing is what concerns me the most.  It seems like you would need to spend a significant amount of time in England to move this case forward.  I see a case in Ireland, (assuming he chooses not to defend himself), as a hollow victory as it would seem unlikely you can get to his assets.
I can understand your position (and Melia's for that matter).  We don't blame victims of other crimes, so it's hard to push all the blame on you or anyone else in this situation.  Yes, you should have known better (we all should).  But people make mistakes all the time.  And sometimes those mistakes end up resulting in someone taking advantage of us (illegally), despite that no one would dare say to us we did something stupid so the other person is free to go. 

Do I believe in criminal prosecution of HIV cases?  I don't know, the cases and circumstances are much too varied to have hard and fast rules.  BUT, I see no reason why a civil case shouldn't be acceptable.  

If what you say is true, (and I have no reason to doubt you), this guy doesn't care one bit about the predicament he has put you and others in.  And while ultimately it's his partners responsibility to protect themselves, this isn't just a matter of staying negative.  It's also about now that HIV has been transmitted, and after confirming someone has done something wrong, should that person be held accountable for their actions.

This guy sounds successful.  If he's running around giving other folks HIV, then I wouldn't bat an eye if his posh flat on the river gets confiscated because of his actions.  He made his bed, (just like you did), and now you both have to lie in it.  If only you are blamed for this situation, then that comes off as only holding one party responsible for an act that has shared responsibility, (at least in my opinion).

Offline alisenjafi

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2006, 01:09:22 PM »
Quote
The issue in question for me at this point is solely, do I assist Karl in his suggested course of action or not.
I have been reading this wrong as I assumed it was you who want to take this guy to court. Though everything else applies both you and your friend Karl will have to decide the best course of action

Good luck Rob og
Johnny
« Last Edit: June 25, 2006, 01:30:05 PM by alisenjafi »
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Offline DanielMark

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2006, 02:16:25 PM »
My apologies, Rob.

Guess I should have been addressing your friend. I would give him the same feedback, in that case.

Daniel
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Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2006, 02:18:34 PM »
Hi Rob
I too appear to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick somewhat. I think I got the idea that you were considering prosecuting as well as your friend from the following comment quoted from your original post:

"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?"

Anyway, what I wrote in my original response to you might help your friend with his decision instead.

Hope you don't mind me asking and maybe it's a naive question but I don't know anything about the lawyer world etc, but why do you feel you would have to disclose your own hiv status if you were to represent your friend? Just wondered...

Melia
/\___/\       /\__/\
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The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

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Offline Rob - Dublin

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2006, 02:50:57 PM »
Hi Melia,

Thanks for the message. Initially when Karl told me that he contracted HIV, he hoped that I would represent him in court.  Then it transpired that I had been infected by the same person. This now means that I am connected to Karl's situation by virtue of the fact that we were infected by the same person. I could not now represent Karl because as I have been infected by the same person that infected him it makes me connected to the case and a lawyer must not conduct a case knowing that he has a conflict of interests, which I would have in this instance.

On the other hand if I was to assist Karl (as a witness) in his case, I would have to come forward to the court and say that I too have been infected by the same guy, thereby revealing my HIV status. I would not be granted anonymity under any circumstances in this instance.

Rob
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline newt

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2006, 04:36:19 PM »
I am not going to dwell on the merits or prosecution or otherwise, but these points spring to mind...

The London guy was wrong in what he did. There are non-latex condoms (allergy smallergy, is my first reaction, but it may be true).

The crime is basically lying, the result of which, in English law, is bodily harm. Your friend could've said the date's off, but he didn't.  He could have refused. Why didn't he? This may seem trite, but the defence and police will make a big deal of this. Justice may come at a price.  (The defence will argue something like "because he is a promiscuous homosexual who wanted sex at any cost" Is this your friend? Does he want to be remembered in the public eye this way).

All your friend's sexual contacts and friends will be contacted.  Basically he has to be ready to tell the world he's HIV+.  The whole world.  Via the press probably.  It will be testing and intrusive.

In England, if this was a casual encounter the police most certainly won't take it forward. Unless there's a serial factor, in which case loads of people have to be up for testifying. 

It's a difficult case to build.  If the London guy says "I told him" it's word against word. 

Expect it to take 2-3 years.

Cliff is right, a very precise genetic match is required, and all other possible occasions for transmission have to be ruled out.

HIV is not a punishment, lots of "good guys" get it.  I got it from my partner, but it was kinda different. I knew he was +ve and the risk I was taking. Nonetheless it was me who fucked him without a condom, for whatever reason, no-one made me do it (the bugger, I love him to bits, still).

I look forward to the first college Jock being done for transmitting HPV..... why does HIV get this special legal attention?  Why is  HIV a special mistake?
 
- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline newt

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2006, 04:55:04 PM »
Re-reading this I can see , you know all this, you's a lawyer.  The possibility of a remedy is attractive, esp. when there seems like little else to do in that respect.  How to get Mr London to behave well and acknowledge his dishonesty? A difficult question. Will it make a difference to HIV transmission? I dunno.  I have a gut feeling, in the end, the media is the only winner.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 09:29:15 AM by newt »
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline Eldon

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2006, 10:11:07 PM »
Rob,

As I understand it , you have moved on and it is Karl who want's to pursue the Legal action. However, you might want to remind him about PREVENTION, is a major factor in this as people do lie about their status. I don't care how hot the heat gets at that moment where your heart is racing with emotions are, unprotected sex is a no no and more of us need to recognize that.

It's a he say she say thing and the evidence? What if he pulls you into this? Your career?

I suggest he thinks it over carefully real carefully before making any sort of move towards having an arraignment for this case.

Offline Ann

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2006, 09:02:13 AM »
Rob,

I am truly sorry; I certainly did not mean to sound condescending - I only meant to express my surprise. I also wasn't really just directing that comment to you alone; all three of you are lawyers. I was just stating my first reaction and sorry if I sounded a bit judgemental towards lawyers. But really, lawyers deal with lies from clients and the opposition all the time. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I would have thought of all people to be of a more disbelieving nature, especially where something as important as remaining hiv negative is concerned, it would be a lawyer. I probably should have kept that thought to myself... sorry.

I also had the wrong end of the stick. I too thought that you were interested in prosecuting this guy, I didn't realise you were only thinking of being a witness. Again, I apologise.

I still feel that prosecutions of this nature should not be brought. While a successful prosecution might help the successful plaintiff feel better about themselves, it is harmful to the positive community as a whole. The media takes these cases and uses them to make us all out to be sexual predators who dole death out to poor, unsuspecting, innocent bystanders. Yes, that is the message that gets sent out.

During the media coverage of the recent UK court case, it was stated that the conviction should send a strong message out to people living with hiv/aids that they MUST disclose to their partners. Fair enough, but that is only half the story. The other half never got any airplay at all. There was absolutely no mention of the fact that one's health is one's own responsibility and that condoms must be used if you haven't tested together with your partner.

These cases do absolutely nothing to help stop the spread of hiv. They only perpetuate the stigma and discrimination we face on a daily basis.

I can't help but think that what the man who is going around spreading his virus needs is mental health care - not imprisonment. I'm sure you are aware that mental health needs take a back seat to everything else here in the UK, and that is even more true of the positive community. I firmly believe that if there were more mental health care and support available to us, that many of these cases would cease to be. The doctors only seem to be interested in our numbers and rarely do they ask if we are coping. Rarely are our mental states looked at. How many others are out there who are in denial, spreading their virus? How many others are out there who are bitter and vengeful, spreading their virus on purpose? How many doctors are aware of these problems with their patients? Very few, I'm willing to wager.

To my mind, it is not individuals who should be indicted, it is the system that allows people with hiv mental health related issues to fall between the cracks and the system that is failing where hiv awareness in the greater community is concerned that should be indicted -  and real changes made.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Rob - Dublin

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2006, 01:59:30 PM »
Hi Ann,

No offence taken and thanks for the views.

Rob
14 Dec 2005 Tested Neg
21 Jan 2006 Infected
09 May 2006 Tested Poz
29 May 2006 CD4 551  (33%) VL 21,000
10 July 2006 CD4 632  (34%) VL 24,500

......when i'm good, i'm very good - when i'm bad i'm even better......

Dream as if you will live forever - Live as if you will die today.....

Offline JR Gabbard

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2006, 10:48:00 PM »
Hi Rob (et al.),

   I am a California attorney with trial experience.  Unlike most lawyers with AIDS, I found out I had it before I went to law school.  I have to admit that I drafted this response before I realized that you too are an attorney, but as corporate lawyer I assume that you don't see the inside of a courtroom very often.  Count that as a blessing!  You probably won't need half of this, since you seem to have a firm and mature grasp of your situation.  I'm posting it in the expectation that you or someone else might find it helpful.  I claim no specific knowledge of UK law, and I base my response on general legal principles.

   Your main problem is proof.  First, can you prove that the encounter happened if London guy denies it?  You would need some independent corroboration.  Also, can you prove that he is in fact positive?  All I've seen is speculation.  You state that Karl "knows for a fact," a fact that would probably never be admitted into evidence.  Since he denied it to you in the first place, expect him to deny it again in court.  UK law would have to supply you some way to compel that test.

   Mode of transimission also weighs heavily against you.  The top usually pitches, not catches.  A competent defense attorney is going to pound you into the ground with that.

   Let's assume that the viral link is provable.  It would require a medical expert (costly), and prior access to his blood sample.  You need to establish that link before you file your complaint, the more certain the better.  Also, you and Karl claim to have been infected by the same man.  If you can compel his test, he can compel yours.  If the two of you turn out to have different strains, your case tanks.

   If you can make it past these hurdles, then I think a criminal complaint is the better way to go if you really want to stop him.  Criminal sanctions are intended to dissuade bad behavior, but what are the available penalties?  Is it jail time, or merely a fine?  Even a hefty fine might not stop him if he has enough money.  He might continue, and just view it as a potentially expensive trick.

   I claim no specific knowledge of UK law, but almost certainly this particular crime would require proof of  criminal intent:  that his purpose in having sex with you (and with Karl) was to infect you with HIV, or potentially that he was reckless in that regard depending on how the relevant law reads.  The good news is that such intent is provable, and has been proved in a few cases over here.  The bad news is that, whether the standard is actual intent or reckless intent, you will have to prove that he knew his HIV status when he had sex with you.  If he has never been tested, which is a distinct possibility, you lose.  You may also have to prove that he didn't disclose to you, but you could overcome that by saying that if he had disclosed, you would not have had sex with him.

   Litigation is no fun.  I have never had a client who genuinely wanted to be there.  Your private life, including your sex life, will be dissected, displayed, and adjudged in a very public way.  Former sex partners could be haled into court, and if any of them are positive your case sinks further (due to the incubation period).  Your HIV status will be a matter of public record.  Only you can decide if it is wourth it, but I know you will come to the right decision because you are asking yourself all the right questions.

   As to financial compensation (well done, spoken like a true attorney!) how do you fix money damages for the outrage you have suffered?  How much money would be enough to compensate you for your loss?  How much money, if any amount, would it take to make him stop?

   Allow me to add this observation:  You are angry about this, and quite rightly so.  Be angry.  Be pissed.  Be f*****g pissed.  Yell. Scream. Punch things (not people!) Kick things. Throw things.  Break things.  RAGE ON!!

   
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

L. Cohen

Offline JR Gabbard

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #35 on: June 26, 2006, 11:13:18 PM »
OOps!  Sorry, hit the wrong button.  This is the end of it.

RAGE ON!!!!

   And then let it go.  Anger will drag you under if you don't, but you can't let it go until you work through it.  Believe me.

   I know your anger. I daresay most of us do.  For my part, I have the "perpetrator" narrowed to two possibilities, each at opposite ends of the 1980's, and both long since dead.  One I remember fondly, the other not so much.  The one I like, Karlis, shared with me a very intense, very passionate, and very brief affair.  That's how it worked back then.  I have never been angry at Karlis.  No one knew back then, and the sex was too good.  He died a few years later, but I didn't find out until years later, after I had tested positive.

   The other, Craig, was also great sex, but an unmitigated liar.  (And British.  Hmmm...)  He told me he was negative, and that he didn't want to use a rubber with me because he didn't think he would catch anything.  Charming, n'est-ce pas?  I later found out that the "with me" bit meant that he was turning tricks, for cash, behind my back.  He died a few years after I dumped him.  Those were the pre-treatment days.  When I tested positive, I was angry with Craig.

   My point is this:  the one who infected you, wheter innocently or maliciously, will not escape fate.  Do you really need to throw your bit in too?  Entirely your call.  Assessing blame is a natural desire, and comforting, but it is only a temporary fix.  You will never be able to blame everyone who deserves it.

   I hope this was helpful.  If you want to chat privately, I think you can get my e-mail from my profile.

Best wishes,

J. R.
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth,
The minor fall, the major lift,
The baffled king composing Hallelujah!

L. Cohen

Offline newt

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2006, 04:03:20 AM »
Intent is not necessary in UK law in this case, reckless will do.  Indeed all the successful prosecutions, most of which have not gone to a jury cos of guilty please, have been for reckless transmission.

"perpetrator" is an odd word to use in the context of a health epidemic.  The "perpetrator" in this case invented neither HIV, nor lying, nor trust, not lust, nor poor judgement, nor gay casual sex outside a committed relationship. The number of gay men with HIV in the UK has doubled everywhere in the last 10 years - in Brighton and London it is reliably and conservatively estimated to be 1 in 8 of us, perhaps 1 in 20 in the UK on average. But, strangely, strangely, many believe this microcosm of an epidemic of African-style prevalence is somehow separate from them.

- matt "British" the newt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline gaz41

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2006, 01:59:03 PM »
just a few points , did this guy know his status ? if he said he wasn´t sure but thought he was negative, would you have still gone ahead ?

its difficult ..my ex lied to me , i considered taking legal action but to be honest it wouldn´t change my status, i didn´t want to go through with a court case i´m not strong enough for that especially the fact of disclosure willing or unwilling

all the best

Garry   

Offline david25luvit

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Re: Your views on taking the guy who gave you HIV to court?
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2006, 07:52:24 PM »
How ironic that this particular subject has generated so much "discussion".  A lot of good points have been made and I can't help but wonder WHAT GOOD WOULD COME OF SUCH LEGAL ACTION?
Even if he were called to the matt for his actions / his lies....What would stop him from doing again and again.

These cases are popping up all over the place these days....  I fear more "bad" will come of it than good.
I hope I'm wrong........
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

 


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