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British man sentenced in abstentia for infecting former partner with HIV


Anthony Cuesta | August 07, 2006

LONDON — A British gay man charged with infecting his former boyfriend with HIV has been sentenced for four years and three months, despite being on the run.

According to BBC News, Mark James, 47, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, who admitted causing grievous bodily harm, failed to attend Friday's hearing at Isleworth Crown Court.

Judge Jonathan Lowen issued a warrant for his arrest last month but police have been unable to track him down, the BBC reports.

The court heard the victim had believed the relationship was monogamous.

James is thought to be the first homosexual to be convicted for "recklessly" passing on the virus.

He continued to have unprotected sex with his partner, who cannot be named, despite testing positive for HIV and secondary syphilis in April 2004.

His partner became aware he was infected when he became seriously ill and was rushed to hospital.

Doctors there discovered he was having a severe reaction to the HIV virus, the court was told.

According to the BBC, Judge Lowen said James had been callous in using deceit and lies to keep his partner unaware of the risk.

James´┐Ż defense lawyer Robert Ellison told the court: "There is no evidence that this was an act that was done maliciously and once they both knew they were infected they did stay together.

"The court is dealing with something that could become a powerful tool in the hands of disenchanted lovers."

But speaking outside the court, James's former partner told the BBC he was convinced it was malicious.

He claimed the relationship was violent and he had been assaulted by James on a number of occasions.

"It was just another weapon because he had pretty much tried everything else," he said.

The victim said the news he had been lied to hit him "like a punch in the guts".

"I knew instantly that he had been lying," he said. "He was the only person I had slept with so it could only have come from him." – Issued by Gay Link Content


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HIV+ man on the run in UK after infecting male partner

 

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