Canadian Man Convicted in 2009 of HIV Sex
Transmission to Multiple People in Canada....
This case was one of many was splashed all over the internet in 2009 as part of an international controversy that debated whether a person who knowingly and intentionally transmits HIV sexually should be criminalized.|
HIV killer tells victims he is sorry
By LINDA NGUYEN, Postmedia News May 26, 2011
The first person ever convicted in Canada of murder for intentionally exposing a dozen sexual partners to HIV, leading to the deaths of two women, apologized to his victims Wednesday, in his first public remarks since his arrest eight years ago.
"I am so sorry for what happened and I wish I had had the wisdom and wherewithal to advise my partners of my HIV infection," Johnson Aziga testified at his dangerous offender hearing.
In April 2009, a jury found the 54-year-old guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated assault and one count of attempted aggravated assault for having unprotected sex with women without disclosing, and at times, lying about his positive HIVstatus.
Two of the women, identified only as H.C. and S.B., later died of AIDSrelated cancers.
Another five of his partners contracted HIV, while four other women tested negative.
Aziga, said he has learned from his past mistakes and will willingly tell any future sex partners about his virus if he is ever released from prison. He is so repentant for his crimes that he even wishes to use his knowledge of HIV to help others.
"I bring a wealth of experience to others of what can happen to a person who does not disclose," he told the crowded Hamilton courtroom. "I bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that would be beneficial to the public. It is also part of healing and repaying my debt to society."
Aziga was a high-ranking research analyst with the Ministry of the Ontario Attorney General. He had found out he was HIV positive in 1996, and described how his life unravelled at the news.
"(I) felt like I had been shot in the head, heart and soul," he said. "At the time, AIDS was a regarded as a life sentence and I was given only about five years to live."
He couldn't deal with the stigma associated with the virus.
"I could not tell anyone about my infection because at that time in the 1990s, HIV positive individuals were treated like lepers of the old," said Aziga.
Aziga said he felt that he was never properly instructed by public health officials on how to disclose his status, and that he always used a condom whenever he was asked.
Earlier Wednesday, Aziga's best friend, Atabe Wori Atabe, testified that the father of three has expressed remorse to him for his actions.
"I think he was hit very hard because of what has happened," said Atabe. "I have no doubt of what he is feeling that those people, what they had gone through, what happened, in fact, as far as I'm concerned, talking to him, I cannot help but feel very strongly, it wasn't something good."
If Aziga is declared a dangerous offender, he can be given an indeterminate sentence.
HIV killer apologizes to victims, saying he didn't deliberately infect them
By Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
HAMILTON - Johnson Aziga, believed to be the first person in Canada convicted of murder through HIV transmission, apologized in court Wednesday to his many victims, but said he did not deliberately infect the women.
Aziga, a 54-year-old Ugandan immigrant and father of three, was found guilty in April 2009 of two counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of attempted aggravated sexual assault.
Aziga's convictions are related to 11 women with whom he had unprotected sex and did not tell them he had the virus that causes AIDS. Seven of the women became infected, with two dying of AIDS-related cancers.
The Crown is seeking to have Aziga declared a dangerous offender, which could see him jailed indefinitely. Aziga took the stand Wednesday at the hearing and read a statement in which he said he regrets and apologizes for not disclosing his HIV status.
"I am so sorry for what happened," he said. "I wish I had the wisdom and the wherewithal to advise my partners of my HIV infection."
Aziga suggested he has gained so much insight since his August 2003 arrest that he wants to share it and be part of the "teaching process."
"I bring a wealth of experience and knowledge that would be beneficial to the public," Aziga said. "I will share my experience with them in hopes that they won't end up in my shoes of being the HIV poster boy."
Under the Criminal Code, a person convicted of a "serious personal injury offence,'' and found at a sentencing hearing to pose an ongoing risk, can be imprisoned for an indeterminate period.
Aziga blames problems on undescended testicle
HAMILTON - An Ontario court is hearing that a man believed to be the first in Canada convicted of murder through HIV transmission blames a medical condition for his current situation.
Johnson Aziga, 54, was convicted in April 2009 of two counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of attempted aggravated sexual assault.
The Crown is seeking a dangerous offender designation for Aziga, which would mean he could be jailed indefinitely.
The convictions relate to 11 women with whom Aziga had unprotected sex without telling them he had the virus that causes AIDS and seven of the women became infected, with two dying of AIDS-related cancers.
At the first day of the dangerous offender hearing, psychiatrist Dr. Philip Klassen is presenting his report and says Aziga attributes his "difficulties" to the fact that he was born with one undescended testicle.
Aziga told Klassen that because of that abnormality he had always hid sexual information about himself - including to his wife and longtime girlfriend - and that he didn't disclose his HIV status because he was afraid he would be rejected.
Under the Criminal Code, a person convicted of a "serious personal injury offence," and found at a sentencing hearing to pose an ongoing risk, can be imprisoned for an indeterminate period.
A dangerous offender can first apply for parole after seven years. After that they can apply again every two years. If the parole board never determines the person is fit for release, the offender will stay in prison for the rest of his life.
Aziga, a former research analyst with Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General and a father of three, has been in custody since his arrest on Aug. 30, 2003.
Since 1978 there have been 522 people designated as dangerous offenders. As of April 25 there were 441 "active" designated offenders. According to the Correctional Service of Canada, 419 are incarcerated, 18 are being supervised in the community, one has been deported, one is on temporary detention, one is on bail and one has escaped.
Aziga finally apologizes, in bid to avoid dangerous offender status
It is an apology that was eight years and 11 ruined lives in the making.
Read slowly to a courtroom devoid of those women for whom it was intended.
"I apologize to the families of the deceased women and the complainants for what I have put them through," Johnson Aziga said, as he got to the last line of his statement. "And continue to put them through."
The prepared statement took about five minutes to deliver.
Aziga spent the next four hours telling the court about his own hardships.
For the first time since he was arrested in 2003, the convicted HIV killer apologized in his own well-crafted words as he took the stand at his dangerous offender hearing Wednesday. His lawyers had apologized on his behalf previously, but the 54-year-old former provincial statistician never testified at his murder trial.
Aziga, who is originally from Uganda, is believed to be the first person in the world convicted of murder after failing to disclose his HIV infection to sexual partners. Two women are dead, five others live with HIV and four more escaped infection but have been psychologically damaged by fear and betrayal.
In April 2009, a jury found Aziga guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault and of attempted sexual assault.
If he is declared a dangerous offender, Aziga could stay in prison for an indeterminate amount of time.
"The day I learned that I was HIV positive in 1996 felt like I had been shot in the head, heart and soul," Aziga began after shuffling - his ankles shackled - to the witness stand. "At that time, AIDS was regarded as a death sentence and I was given only about five years to live."
Aziga sunk into depression and alcoholism after his diagnosis, court heard. He wanted desperately to know how he got infected. He has never found an answer.
He did not tell anyone of his infection, he said in his statement. Indeed, his best friend, who testified earlier in the day, told court that although he and Aziga lunched together often and were very close, he knew nothing of his HIV status until he was arrested.
"My marriage started unravelling," Aziga continued in his statement. "In short order, my wife and I were separated and eventually divorced. Strenuous litigation around children and their support drained me of any energy I had."
He was lonely.
"As time went on I started seeking company from the very places where I was getting my alcohol, those being bars and clubs."
He told the court that although he was getting HIV counselling, it did not include "sensitivity training as precisely how to disclose to my partners that I was HIV positive."
"I sincerely regret and apologize that advising my partners of my HIV infection was not close to my mind. I wish I had behaved differently. This was the time when I was at my most loneliest and therefore desirous of female companionship."
"I used condoms," he said, "but sometimes spontaneity during drunken episodes overtook the ability and opportunity to use condoms. Whenever any female partner asked me to use a condom, I used a condom. Others did not like condoms ... I also did not admit to having any sexually transmitted virus because then I would be deprived of companionship."
Some victims testified earlier that they used condoms when they first met Aziga, but after a relationship developed and Aziga assured them he did not have an STD, they stopped using condoms.
"I was a walking shell and not a full human being," Aziga said. "My ability to think was impaired ... I thought I could die any time and it did not matter anymore. In my twisted mind, I was under attack by external forces."
Then Aziga, who has fired lawyers, delayed and stalled court proceedings and dragged his case out for eight long years - not including his pending appeal - said, "I tried to resolve these matters as delicately as I could but the criminal process became so overwhelming, especially after the murder charges were laid, that I had to go through to the end."
Finally, Aziga promised the court that if he is ever released into the community, he will not reoffend.
"I will always advise any prospective partner in future of my infection and I will always wear a condom."
He wants a second chance. But he already had 11 chances to do the right thing.
Mandel: HIV killer's apology not enough
By Michele Mandel ,Toronto Sun
HAMILTON - Too little, too late.
The first man in Canada convicted of murder for knowingly spreading the virus that causes AIDS has finally apologized publicly to his 11 victims.
"I am so sorry for what happened and I wish I had had the wisdom and wherewithal to advise my partners of my HIV infection," Johnson Aziga told Ontario Superior Court Wednesday.
But it sounded more like a wily bid at avoiding a dangerous offender designation than it did a sincere and heartfelt mea culpa. And for the two women who have since died of the disease he gave them, it offers no solace at all.
Speaking publicly for the first time, the Ugandan-born 54-year-old told his dangerous offender hearing that he did not "deliberately" infect women with HIV but was not thinking clearly.
"From the time of diagnosis in 1996, to the time of (2003) arrest, part of me had died, life was not meaningful," Aziga said. "I was drinking heavily, I was depressed, I had serious financial difficulties, I was lonely, I was always tired and sick from migraines. I was not thinking properly. I was a walking shell and not a full human being."
Cry me a river. If anything, the two-page statement Aziga read out in court was more steeped in self pity than in truly taking responsibility for not disclosing his HIV-positive status when having unprotected sex with a long string of lovers.
Aziga was convicted in 2009 of two counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of aggravated assault and one of attempted aggravated assault. Besides the two women who died of AIDS-related cancers, five of his former lovers have contracted the virus and four have tested negative.
The Crown is seeking to have Aziga declared a dangerous offender, which could jail him indefinitely.
Sitting in the witness box with his feet shackled, the divorced father of three said learning he was HIV-positive felt like being "shot in the head, heart and soul".
The former Ontario civil servant said his life unravelled. He began drinking almost daily after work and kept his diagnosis secret because he feared being shunned like a leper. His wife left him, their divorce impoverished him and the lonely man began looking for women in the bars he frequented to drown his sorrows.
Boo hoo. Many people have contracted HIV, the overwhelming majority knowing very well that it is criminal, let alone immoral, not to warn their sexual partners of their diagnosis.
Not our Mr. Aziga though. He blames public health. "The counselling I was getting in those early days right up to my arrest did not include sensitivity and training as precisely how to disclose to my partners that I was HIV-positive."
How about this: "Before we have unprotected sex, you should know I have HIV"?
How complicated is that?
But Aziga was too selfish, too caught up in his own death sentence, to spare the lives of others. "This was the time I was at my most loneliest," he explained. "I also did not admit to having any sexually transmitted virus because then I would be deprived of companionship."
Aziga even has the gall to blame some of his victims. "Sometimes no questions were asked and no condoms were requested," Aziga insisted.
His lawyer then led the Ugandan immigrant through a long recitation of the violence he witnessed in his native land, as if that could be blamed for his reckless disregard for the women he bedded. "The trauma that he went through, seeing dead bodies...We bring refugees here with a lot of baggage," Davies Bagambiire told reporters outside court.
An educated man, Aziga came to Canada in 1984, attended university in Guelph and went on to work as an analyst for the Ontario government. He was warned repeatedly by public health to tell his sexual partners about his HIV status and not to have sex without a condom.
He knew full well what he was doing.
But like a serial killer with a loaded weapon, his actions killed two innocent women and could easily have claimed nine more.
If that's not a dangerous offender, I don't know what is.