HIV man to appeal decision
May 04, 2007 10:00pm
A MAN convicted of endangering life by having unprotected sex with three women while knowing he had HIV will appeal against a landmark Supreme Court ruling against him.Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Times, a Perth scientist who argued the man's case by questioning the existence of the virus, remains defiant that she's right and says the court decision was based on "opinions, not evidence''.
Andre Chad Parenzee, 36, captured world attention when his legal team sought leave to appeal against his conviction by contending that HIV had never been scientifically proven to exist.
It was the first time the issue had been tested in an Australian court.
Last week in Adelaide, Supreme Court Justice John Sulan rejected the application, dismissing as not ``plausible'' evidence by Perth physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and physician Valendar
Turner that HIV had not been proven to exist and could not be sexually transmitted.
But Parenzee's lawyer, Kevin Borick QC, said that he would apply to the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal.
He said Justice Sulan had "mixed up'' what scientists accepted as proven about HIV and the question of "proof beyond reasonable doubt''.
Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos, head of the HIV-sceptic Perth Group, said: ``In our opinion, the HIV experts did not present evidence that confirmed sexual transmission _ they gave opinions.
"Now, in court, maybe opinions are more relevant than evidence. But we analysed critically every single experiment which claims to prove the existence of HIV.
"For HIV to be transmitted, the virus has to exist and there is no evidence. Even the expert on sexual transmission did not come up with one single study which proves that HIV is sexually transmitted.
"We're not saying that HIV doesn't exist. It may exist, but we have to have evidence.''
Emphasising that her views were not those of her employer, Royal Perth Hospital, she repeated doubts she raised in the case about the accuracy of the antibody test used to prove HIV infection.
She said the case was about whether there was controversy - she felt there was - about the existence of HIV and whether AIDS was caused by the virus.
Responding to extreme criticism of her and Dr Turner during the case, she said: ``Science is all about asking questions. We don't know why we can't ask questions about what is portrayed to be the biggest challenge in medical history.''
Justice Sulan said in his decision the pair were not qualified to give expert opinions about HIV.
He was satisfied no jury would conclude there was any doubt that the virus existed, that it was the cause of AIDS, or that it was sexually transmissible.
Based on compelling evidence, the HIV testing method was ``extremely rigorous'' and specific, he said.
Parenzee was convicted in February last year after one of the three women, a mother of two, contracted HIV.
He has been remanded in custody for sentencing.
Have Your Say
The editorial policy that fosters promotion of scientifically incorrect information that has been adjudicated by a supreme court judge and is the basis for continuing havoc throughout the world is irresponsible journalism. Does the Sunday Times really believe that HIV does not exist? Otherwise how does it account for the millions who are dying with AIDS and allow one of their journalists to promote "credibility" of an inexpert and harmful opinion?Posted by: Peter McDonald 1:17pm today
Once again we have someone who won't take responsibility for their actions.Posted by: charles morgan of perth 10:27am May 06, 2007
I hope the sentence refelctes the gravity of the crime. Without medical advances to the contrary, then he has killed, albeit in the future and knowingly done so. I hope he remains inside and removed as a trheat from sociey for what is left of his life. Lets put the rights of the comunity over the individual rights.Posted by: Steve Jefferies of Ankara, Turkey 12:56am May 06, 2007
Eleni says "Even the expert on sexual transmission did not come up with one single study which proves that HIV is sexually transmitted. " By that I'm assuming she's referring to Padian, whom the dissidents see as the be-all and end-all of HIV sexual transmission. And yet Padian gave multiple examples of papers showing heterosexual transmission of HIV in the rebuttal she has on the AIDStruth.org website, which Eleni (eventually) admitted in court she was aware of prior to testifying... Who exactly needs to provide proof here, hmm? The Perth Group were clearly just trying to use poor Andre Parenzee to promote their wacky agenda in the public eye. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos hasn't even attended a college biology course - she taught herself biology and has done no biological research of her own! How can she possibly claim to be able to critically analyze the scientific literature of HIV and AIDS..? Thankfully the judge had some common sense. Untrained, inexperienced amateurs disagreeing with evidence-based scientific consensus is not the same as "controversy" or "reasonable doubt" in anyone's mind but their own.Posted by: Bennett of Syracuse, NY 10:19pm May 05, 2007
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Please provide your full name. We also require a working email address - not for publication, but for verification. The location field is optional. Read our publication guidelines.
Submit your feedback here:
Be on the ball
Does having a degree help you get a job? We want your opinion, click here.