HIV killer ruled dangerous offender
An Ontario man convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of two of his sex partners through HIV transmission has been declared a dangerous offender.
A Hamilton, Ont., court granted a request by Crown prosecutors, who asked that Johnson Aziga be jailed indefinitely because they believe he is a high risk to reoffend.
Aziga was the first person to be charged and convicted of first-degree murder in Canada for spreading HIV. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1996 and had unprotected sex with 11 women without telling them he was HIV-positive.
Seven of these women later tested positive for HIV, and two later died of complications of AIDS.
Aziga, dressed in a dark grey suit and white shirt, addressed the court Tuesday for nearly an hour. He said he has filed an application to renounce his Canadian Citizenship because he doesn't feel he faced a fair process, the CBC's Kimberly Gale reported from the coutroom.
"I am a man of consciousness," Aziga told the court. "I listen to it. It is clear, unambiguous and unmistakable. I had no intention to deliberately pass on my HIV to anyone."
Aziga, 54, also said he planned to get HIV tattooed on the palms of his hands so women he meets know he is positive.
He said he didn't disclose his HIV status because of sociological and ethno-cultural barriers, religion and taboos.
The Ugandan-born Aziga said that in sub-Saharan Africa, where he was raised, there was no education on sex, sex health or sexuality.
Outside the courtroom, Crown prosecutor Karen Shea said the women who survived are experiencing side effects from being infected with HIV and the fact they didn't know about their infection in a timely fashion has directly affected the progress of the disease.
During his 2009 trial, the Crown described Aziga, a former employee of Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General, as a callous and arrogant person who lied about his HIV status.
Prosecutors alleged that Aziga failed to tell his partners of his HIV-positive status, even though he had been aware of it since 1996 and was under public-health orders to do so.
Aziga's defence lawyers argued Aziga is a changed man and has learned more about HIV and AIDS while in jail.
Aziga has been in jail for eight years and is expected to appeal his murder conviction.
The designation "dangerous offender" is reserved for Canada's most violent criminals and sexual predators.
Crown attorneys can seek the designation during sentencing and must show there is a high risk the criminal will commit violent or sexual offences in the future.
With files from Kimberly Gale