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HIV man is found guilty of deliberately infecting lovers
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
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
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
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
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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