November 12, 2008 5:25:32 PM CET
Guilty verdicts in HIV injection case
Wednesday 12 November 2008
A 49-year-old man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the Groningen HIV case in which a number of men were deliberately infected with the virus at sex parties.
Groningen district court found Peter M guilty of causing grevous bodily harm to five men at sex parties held at his home by injecting them with HIV-infected blood. Co-defendant Hans J (39) was sentenced to five years in jail.
'They [the defendents] show a lack of respect for the integrity of the human body,' the judges were quoted as saying by news agency ANP. 'While they knew what the consequences of an HIV infection are, they made repeated attempts to infect others.'
The third defendant and Peter M's partner, Wim D (48), was given an 18 month sentence.
The three were arrested last year after a number of their victims pressed assault charges. Twelve of the victims, who range in age from their 20s to 40s, have been diagnosed as HIV positive, the court was told during last month's trial.
However, the judges said it could not be proved that the victims had developed HIV as a result of the injections, nor is there enough evidence that they had been drugged before the assaults took place, ANP said.
'Complaints about memory loss could be due to the use of the drug ecstasy and alcohol,' the judges said in their statement. 'And it cannot be ruled out that the statements have been influenced by media reporting and conversations between the plaintiffs.'
The public prosecution department, which called for jail terms of up to 15 years, is to appeal.
Although the punishment isn't enough.