Published: Wed, 07 Mar 2018

HIV man is found guilty of deliberately infecting lovers

The Independent

15 October 2003

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

A man who knowingly infected two women with HIV

has become the first person in more than a century to be convicted of inflicting

biological grievous bodily harm.

Mohammed Dica, 37, who has three children,

persuaded two women to have unprotected sex without telling them he had HIV. He

was a refugee from Somalia, but claimed to be a lawyer and to have served as a

soldier in the Gulf War. The court heard that he was a practised Lothario who

told the women a pack of lies. Doctors say the victims may have no more than 10

years to live.

Dica told the first, a university graduate who

worked for the United Nations, that he had had a vasectomy and did not need to

use protection, and promised the second, a woman from Surrey with two children,

that he loved her and wanted her to have his children. When she left her husband

to be with him, he disappeared.

Dica denied the offences, which took place

between 1997 and 2000, and told detectives that both women had known of his

condition.

Yesterday a jury of six men and six women at

Inner London Crown Court took two hours to find him guilty after the prosecution

claimed he had “coldly and callously” infected his two lovers with the

virus.

Judge Nicholas Philpot deferred sentencing until

next month but warned Dica he faced a lengthy period in prison. The offences

carry a maximum of five years each.

Detectives believe there may be other women

infected by Dica and asked any who had had a relationship with him to come

forward.

The case is the first since Charles James

Clarence was convicted in 1888 of causing grievous and actual bodily harm after

infecting his wife Selina with gonorrhoea. He was cleared on appeal when the

House of Lords ruled that passing a sexually transmitted disease during

consensual sex did not constitute an assault.

The same argument was used by Dica’s lawyers.

They said that as both women had agreed to sex, no assault had been committed.

But Judge Philpot decided the law had moved on since 1888 as a result of a

succession of cases which had chipped away at the Clarence position.

In 1997, Anthony Burstow, 36, was convicted of

inflicting psychiatric grievous bodily harm on a woman with stalking and

telephone calls. On appeal, the Lords decided the Crown did not have to prove

battery to secure a bodily harm conviction.

Yesterday’s conviction which follows the line of

a similar case in Scotland two years ago. In March 2001, Stephen Kelly, 33, was

found guilty of “culpable and reckless conduct” for passing HIV to his

girlfriend.

Dica’s lawyers said they would appeal, and the

case is likely to go to the Lords.

The National Aids Trust criticised the verdict.

It said: “Treating cases like this as a criminal offence will not prevent

such incidents. People should feel able to disclose their HIV status without

fear of rejection or discrimination.”


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