Australian man on trial for HIV infections
A 49-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to charges including infecting two people with HIV and attempting to infect 14 others between 2001 and 2006.
Michael Neal is on trial in the Australian state of Victoria after a series of measures undertaken by the state’s health authority allegedly failed to stop him from having unprotected sex.
The prosecution has detailed Neal’s alleged “mission” to infect other men with the virus, meeting them on the internet and organising so-called “conversion” parties.
He was diagnosed in 2000, the court heard, and was informed of his responsibility to have safe sex and tell his sexual partners about his status.
After complaints about his behaviour the Department of Human Services began monitoring Neal.
“Between November 2001 and April 7, 2006 the DHS served Neal with three letters and four orders issued under section 121 of the Health Act 1958,” the prosecution told the court, according to The Age.
The Act covers the control of infectious diseases.
Despite these warnings, in 2003 he told a DHS nurse he had visited a sex venue and had had unprotected sex.
In 2005 he was under restrictions such as having to report daily to DHS staff, as he was judged to be a serious risk to public health.
Neal’s defence lawyer George Georgiou rejected assertions from the prosecution that his client had boasted he infected 75 men.
“Those statements are so far fetched that you would have serious doubt that they could reflect his true state of mind,” he said.
He claimed Neal thought did not intend to infect or endanger anyone.
The trial continues.