Godfrey Zaburoni, a circus acrobat and TV personality, who was sentenced for deliberately infecting his girlfriend with HIV through unprotected sex, has won the High Court challenge.
Zimbabwe born and a Gold Coast resident, 37-year-old Godfrey Zaburoni was sentenced to 9-and-half years in jail in 2013. He was the second person in Queensland to be convicted of the charge, reported 9News.
However, the High Court has ruled that there is no evidence that Zaburoni intentionally infected the woman with the disease. It was reported that Zaburoni admitted to infecting the woman and not revealing to her his HIV status. IAlthough, he argued that did not do it deliberately.
The HIV/AIDS Legal Centre, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and National Association of People with HIV Australia in a joint statement said, “Police, lawyers and the judiciary need to recognise that the issues around transmission of HIV and intent are unique and a standard criminal law approach cannot be taken.”
The statement further read, “Advocates can also learn what information must be provided to defence lawyers regarding reasons for HIV non-disclosure, and what may be presented to a court to refute the assumption that non-disclosure in and of itself may equate to intentional transmission of HIV.”
Alexender Stratigos, a spokesperson from the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre informed that the organisation decided to help the acrobat as the result of the case will be wide ranging.
Zaburoni was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1998. Even so, several years later during his two-year relationship he did not reveal the truth to his partner, reported ABC.
Zaburoni told his girlfriend about his brother, who died of AIDS but “lied about his [own] HIV status several times during and after their relationship,” the high court stated.
The woman was diagnosed with HIV a year after their split.
According to a The World Fact Book, Zimbabwe is the fifth country in the list of world’s top ten countries with highest HIV rate. According to The Guardian, Zaburoni was told by a infectious disease physician that he had likely been infected in Zimbabwe.