Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

HIV trial: Man denies making up claims in anger

Mikio Filitonga appears in the Auckland District Court on charges of deliberate HIV infection. Photo/Jason Oxenham.
Mikio Filitonga appears in the Auckland District Court on charges of deliberate HIV infection. Photo/Jason Oxenham.

A man has denied making up allegations his ex-boyfriend gave him HIV because he was angry about infidelity, a court has heard.

The man, who has name suppression, is giving evidence at the Auckland District Court during the jury trial of his former partner, Mikio Filitonga.

The 37-year-old is defending a charge of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard and one of committing a criminal nuisance by doing an unlawful act.

The Crown alleges Filitonga, knowing he was positive after a test in May 2013, and "fully aware of his obligation to disclose his health status to his sexual partner", had unprotected sex with his live-in boyfriend.

This caused his partner to contract HIV.

Defence lawyer Ross Burns asked him about a text he sent Filitonga about intending to go to a gay sauna.

But the man said he said it was just a threat to invoke a reaction.

"I was hurt. I never went. I was too upset. I was just saying shit like that to piss him off."

Burns also asked about a text where he asked Filitonga whether he wanted to "get high and have crazy orgy sex".

The man said "all that stuff is just silly talk" because he believed Filitonga was having sex with other people and he wanted to "really just be with him".

The man got upset when the lawyer asked if he had "fit things in" to his timeline because he was angry at Filitonga after learning he was HIV positive in December 2014.

"Why would I go for three years of agony thinking about it every day? Why would I go through all of this horribleness if I wasn't sure?"

He also denied having sex with anyone other than Filitonga and three others who have all tested negative.

Crown prosecutor Jo Murdoch asked how many times the man asked Filitonga about his health status during their relationship.

The man said he asked within the first few hours of meeting the accused, then at least five other times and Filitonga always told him he was "clean".

Yesterday, the court heard how after two months of dating and during a holiday to the Philippines with friends, the man grew ill with nausea, aches, a fever and a rash that spread over his body.

He said he figured it was probably a tropical virus and busied himself with planning his mother's 90th birthday. He later learned these were symptoms of seroconversion, when a person first develops antibodies for HIV.

Burns told the jury the Crown had to prove the man didn't have sex with anyone other than the three men he's declared, who have all tested negative.

The window begins when the complainant tested negative in August 2013 and when he tested positive in December 2014.

If the Crown couldn't prove there was no one else, Burns told the jurors they couldn't find the defendant guilty.

The man has finished giving evidence and the trial will resume tomorrow.

The law and HIV
• If you are HIV positive, you do not have to disclose your status before having intercourse as long as you are using a condom.
• If the sex is unprotected, the HIV-positive person has a legal duty to disclose his or her status.

- NZ Herald

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