This story is from our news.com.au network Source: AAP
HIV does not exist appeal thrown out
- April 27, 2007
A HIV-positive man convicted for having unprotected sex with three women has lost an appeal, after a South Australian judge rejected defence claims the virus does not exist.
Andre Chad Parenzee, 36, was convicted on three counts of endangering life last January after one of the women, a mother of two, became infected with HIV.
Defence lawyers launched an appeal calling two Perth medical researchers – Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Dr Valendar Turner – who testified in the South Australian Court of Appeal that the virus did not exist and could not be sexually transmitted.
The two AIDS-dissidents are members of the Perth Group, founded by Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos, that believes HIV is not the cause of AIDS.
Justice John Sulan today dismissed the witnesses' testimony, saying the pair lacked credibility and were advocates for a cause rather than independent experts.
He said the evidence that HIV existed was compelling and he rejected the application for a re-trial.
"I am satisfied that no jury would conclude that there is any doubt that the virus HIV exists," he said in his judgment.
"I consider no jury would be left in any doubt that HIV is the cause of AIDS or that it is sexually transmissible."
Justice Sulan said Ms Papadopoulos-Eleopulos, a physicist who works at the Royal Perth Hospital, relied upon opinions of others, which she often took out of context and misinterpreted.
He said claims that HIV testing methods were flawed were unfounded and the virus had been thoroughly studied by international experts.
Parenzee's application for leave to appeal his conviction was the first time that the existence of HIV/AIDS had been tested in an Australian court.
The hearing spanned more than a year with controversy lining much of the witness testimony.
Under earlier cross-examination, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos was asked by the prosecution if she would have unprotected vaginal sex with a HIV-positive man.
"Any time," she replied.
In other testimony, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos declared that Africa did not have an AIDS epidemic because HIV did not exist and efforts to curb the spread of the virus were merely political stunts.
To counter the claims, the prosecution called eight HIV experts including AIDS research pioneer Professor Robert Gallo.
Prof Gallo, who was one of the scientists who discovered AIDS in the early 1980s and linked HIV as the cause of the disease, testified via video-link from his home in Bethesda, Massachusetts.
He told the court the Perth Group members was misguided, inappropriate and delusional.
Parenzee was remanded in custody to be sentenced at a later date.