Interesting crime, do you blame him or the women?
Lover's HIV trail laid out
Oct 21, 2008 04:30 AM
HAMILTON–Naïve and provincial it may be, old-fashioned, but there is still a presumption of trust in sexual intimacy, isn't there?
That profound harm – even unto loss of life – will not occur as a blindsided consequence of passion.
Johnson Aziga is charged with killing two women by the mere fact of having unprotected sexual intercourse with them. The 52-year-old is alleged to have copulated them to death, knowing but never saying that he was HIV-positive.
Those are but the brace of first-degree murder indictments to which Aziga has pleaded not guilty. His landmark trial, which launched yesterday, is believed to be the first instance in Canada where a defendant has faced the most severe of homicide charges stemming from an AIDS-related death.
He spread his seed wide over a period of several years, Crown attorney Tim Power told the court in his opening statement, outlining the anticipated evidence: Seven women purportedly contracting the HIV virus from Aziga, two of them dying from AIDS-related lymphoma, four others who have tested negative but exposed to the risk without knowledge.
The Crown will argue that's "causal'' enough, or potentially causal, to justify conviction on 11 charges of aggravated sexual assault.
Since the women were unaware of Aziga's HIV status, the prosecution maintains, they could not have entered into valid sexual consent. Equipped with that knowledge, they might never have agreed to a sexual relationship.
"When one hears of aggravated sexual assault and murder, one may immediately think of a violent rape scenario,'' Power told the jury, composed of nine men and three women. "This case is very different than that type of case.''
In this case, there was no force or coercion but there was, allegedly, betrayal, a man purportedly taking treatment for his own condition while neglecting to take any precautions that would protect his sexual partners, withholding his HIV-positive condition, even to the point, court heard, of reassuring one woman that he'd been tested and was negative.
"Valid consent cannot simply be to have sexual intercourse in this situation,'' said Power, launching what is expected to be a six-week trial before Superior Court Justice Tom Lofchik. "Rather, it must be consent to have intercourse with a partner who is HIV positive.''
Court will hear sex partners say they would never have consented to unprotected intercourse, had they known of the HIV risk. Taped statements were also obtained from two infected women not long before their deaths.