Worst Legal Defense Ever
A year ago, South-African born Australian Andre Chad Parenzee was found guilty of intentionally endangering the lives of three women by having unprotected sex with them when he knew himself to be infected with HIV. Two of the women escaped uninfected. The third was not so lucky.
Sad to say, this in itself is neither uncommon nor surprising, especially to anyone living in SA where we hear about this sort of thing happening all the time. What is surprising is the tactic Parenzee’s lawyers chose to take in his appeal against his conviction. Their argument? That HIV does not exist, therefore he cannot have infected the women with anything and couldn’t have endangered their lives.
Yes, you read that right. His actual legal defense, which the Australian Supreme Court is currently entertaining to the extent that the appeal is being heard, is that HIV does not exist. The defense has brought two ‘experts’ to the stand to testify to this, and the prosecution is in the process of tearing them a new one. They have already pointed out that one of the defense witnesses, Ms Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, has intentionally deceived the court:
Under cross-examination, Prosecutor Sandi McDonald accused Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos of misrepresenting studies presented to the court by omitting words from quotes that did not support her argument.
AIDS denialists quote mining? My goodness! It must be a day of the week ending in the letter ‘y’!
The witnesses for the prosecution are also having a fair go at those for the defence. Sir Gustav Nossal, a world-class immunologist, has called the HIV skeptics “a considerable scientific embarrassment”. Dr Elizabeth Dax, one of the world’s top HIV diagnosis experts, has accused the skeptics of presenting “dinosaur” evidence, referring to such tactics as presenting a paper from 1989 as if no recent discoveries have been made. Microbiologist David Gordon has compared them to UFO supporters.
The outcome of this trial should be obvious, if the judge deserves his position on the bench. And if not… well it will be a travesty.