Canadian convicted of murder in HIV case

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In what is described as a Canadian first, a jury on Saturday convicted an Ontario man of first-degree murder in the AIDS-related deaths of two women.

Johnson Aziga, 52, was accused of knowingly infecting his sex partners with the HIV virus which can cause AIDS. The trial dealt with the cases where two women had died from AIDS-related complications, while 11 others were either infected or exposed to HIV. Aziga was informed he carried the HIV virus in 1996 and was instructed by public health authorities to inform his sex partners of his condition. However, the trial prosecutors alleged that Aziga disregarded these orders and continued to practice unprotected sex without warning his partners he carried HIV.

The defence counsel for Aziga argued that he suffered from various problems including depression and an organic brain disorder, which rendered him incapable of causing intentional harm.

During the trial in Hamilton, Aziga also faced 11 counts of aggravated sexual assault and was convicted in all but one of these charges. The 11th charge was replaced by conviction on a lesser charge of attempted aggravated sexual assault. The murder convictions mean that Aziga faces sentence for which he could not be paroled for 25 years.