An Australian man yesterday was convicted of deliberately spreading HIV.
“Michael John Neal, 49, was found guilty today of 15 charges, including attempting to infect another person with HIV, rape and procuring sexual penetration by fraud. The County Court jury returned their verdict this afternoon after four days of deliberations which also cleared Neal of 11 charges that alleged he had intentionally infected two men with the virus. The court heard he was diagnosed as HIV positive in June 2000. During a six-week trial the court was told Neal organised ‘conversion’ sex parties and wore a genital piercing to make it easier to transmit the disease…In his opening address to the trial, prosecutor Mark Rochford said Neal had bragged about infecting 75 people and told one of his partners he ‘gets off’ on infecting people.”
ABC reports: “The court heard Neal met his victims at public toilets, at an Abottsford hotel, and through a gay website.”
Despite the acquittals, prosecutors said they were pleased with the verdict: “There would be a degree of disappointment to some extent, but overall we are very happy with the result. It was a team effort. I commend the many victims and witnesses that came forward who had to recount some very private parts of their lives, which they did in the public arena, and should be commended.”