Woman found guilty of grievous bodily harm over HIV transmission

A woman has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to a sex partner, after a jury determined she had not adequately informed a man of her HIV status before they had unprotected sex.

CJ Palmer, who is a sex worker, and is also transgender, was found guilty in the Perth District Court earlier today.

During the week-long trial the court heard that Palmer had been informed that she was living with HIV in September 2014. Palmer was informed of her diagnosis by a nurse form the WA Substance Users Association. The organisation said Palmer ignored follow up calls about her condition.

Two months later she began a sexual relationship with a man, who can not be named, after he answered an advertisement for sexual services.

The man testified that he had asked Palmer several times if she was free of sexually transmitted infections before they had unprotected sex several times between 2014 and 2015. Later in 2015 the man was diagnosed as living with HIV.

During the trial Palmer said that she had not been informed by the nurse of HIV status and only became aware she was living with HIV after she arrested in New South Wales and extradited back to Western Australia.

The jury deliberated for four hours before finding Palmer guilty. Judge Stevenson said the case was “unusual” because it was different from other grievous bodily harm trials, which usually involve someone being punched or something similar.

The judge said Palmer had breached her “duty of care” to the victim, and he would now potentially face the stigma and prejudice often encountered by people living with HIV.

Palmer was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on 16th February. Palmer will be held in a male prison, she has already been held in custody for nine months, most of that time being in a ‘Special Handling Unit’ where she was kept in a cell by herself.

OIP Staff

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