The “wealthy Auckland businessman” faces 23 charges including disabling or stupefying, supplying Class A and Class B drugs, indecent assault, sexual violation, abduction, inducing or compelling a person to provide commercial sexual services and four counts of receiving commercial sexual services from a person under 18 years old. [Read more…]
What’s wrong with our rape laws? OPINION by Andrea Vance:
Amid the national moral panic stemming from the Roast Busters sex scandal, politicians were grappling with one challenging question: What’s wrong with our rape laws?
What is it about our justice system that makes more than 90 per cent of victims unwilling to report incidents of sexual violation to the police?
Why is it that sexual violence is the fifth most common offence but the least reported to police? [Read more…]
NZ Herald Editorial. Monday March 19, 2012
The law is generous to people with HIV who do not tell a sexual partner they have the virus. They have no obligation to inform their partner as long as they practise “safe sex”. It is only if they do not protect the unwitting partner to that extent that their failure to disclose their condition becomes a criminal offence, though not as serious an offence as it really is. Thanks to a court ruling last week, the offence will now be regarded more seriously – but only for the purposes of accident compensation.
The Court of Appeal has ordered compensation for a woman who was fortunate not to be infected but suffered post traumatic stress disorder when she learned her partner of four months was HIV positive. Under stress, she took so much time off work that she lost her job. She applied for compensation on grounds of mental injury but ACC refused her claim because the crime was not in one of the eligible categories.
NZ Aids Foundation wants ethical-legal balance on disclosure of HIV (Opinion: The Dominion Post, 16 March, 2012, p. B7)
“The very real risk of changing the legal precedent is that it will make people who think they may have contracted HIV afraid to come forward to test for fear that they will face serious prosecution and stigma.” Shaun Robinson, executive director of the registered charity NZAF
The NEW ZEALAND Aids Foundation (NZAF), a registered charity with the Charities Commission, has spoken out yet again against the major legal precedent established by the recent Court of Appeal ruling concerning HIV status disclosure, ACC compensation and a clarification of the nature of “sexual violation”.
The NZAF quarter-page contribution to the debate written by its executive director Shaun Robinson involves “the perpetual advocacy of a particular point of view on moral [ethical] issues,” [to use a phrase coined by the Charities Commission] being that of NZAF. At least 30 registered charities have supported the ruling of the Court of Appeal.
The public are well aware that NZAF is a registered charity committed to “the perpetual advocacy of a particular point of view on ethical [i.e. moral] issues” – (c.f. “propaganda” trusts as they are sometimes termed by the Charities Commission et al.).
The focus of NZAF in the present debate is primarily on the so-called ‘rights’ of “gay” or “bisexual persons” who have been diagnosed HIV-positive to withhold that personal information from their sex-partners, despite the fact that there is a very real risk of the transmission of the deadly virus to their partners via anal and vaginal intercourse, especialy when unprotected sex is engaged in. [Read more…]
Nothing but truth for HIV sex partners. The Dominion Post Editorial. March 125, 2012
“[The NZAF] position is a cop out … It is irresponsible and does nothing to engender confidence that [this registered charity] has the community health as its highest priority”
THE NZ AIDS FOUNDATION [a registered charity with the Charities Commission] supports the right of HIV-positive partners to conceal their condition from their sexual partners provided they use proper protection. It could not be more wrong.”
Everybody who enters into a sexual relationship has a fundamental right to be fully informded about any risk they might be exposing themselves to. HIV might not be the near-cerrtain death sentence it once was, and the risk of transmitting it through sex might be small with the right protection, but there is still a risk. Condoms can be faulty, they can break and can be ineffective if not properly used. It is unconscionable to advocate the right for somebody to expose another person to that risk without them knowing.
The Court of Appeal ruling that awarded ACC cover to a woman who suffered mental trauma after discovering she had been having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man sets an important precedent in that regard. It opens the door to sexual violation charges in cases where people who have the disease fail to tell their partners.
Justin Dalley, the man at the centre of the case, knew he was HIV-positive, but deliberately withheld that from his partner till she was told by a mutual acquaintance. She was lucky not to contract the disease herself, and the six-month wait to be cleared caused her serious distress.
The issue for the Court of Appeal was not whether Dalley infected his victim, but whether she gave fully informed consent to the unprotected sex. She says that had she known he was HIV-positive, she would have refused. The court has found that Dalley’s failure to disclose his [HIV-positive] status nullified consent, and so was a sexual violation for the purposes of ACC cover.
To what extent it can be applied to criminal cases is yet to be tested. So too is the issue of whether it applies to other sexually-transmitted diseases and cases where people fail to disclose their status, but use protection to limit the chances of infecting their partner.
There is legal precedent on the latter question, set in another case involving Dalley and a second woman. He did not tell her he had HIV, but the district court found that by using a condom he had met his legal duty to take reasonable precautions to avoid infecting her.
Whether the Court of Appeal ruling affects that decision is not clear. In any case, it is almost ceretsain that if it is used as the basis to charge someone with sexual violation in the future, it will be challenged.
The Aids Foundation claims that allowing sexual violation charges against people who know they have HIV but fail to tell their sexusal partners will increase discrimination and lead to a “significant decrease” in testing. That is a cop-out. The Court of Appeal case was not about the rights of people with HIV, but the rights of those with whom they wish to have sex to have a full understanding of the possible consequences.
The Aids Foundation disagrees. It is happy for those who have HIV to keep that secret from their sexual partners, provided they use condoms and lubricant. Its position is irresponsible and does nothing to engender confidence that it has the community’s health as its highest priority.
Source: The Dominion Post Editorial. Thursday, March 15, 2012, p. B4. [Emphasis added]