Parenzee Verdict is Here

Friday 27 April 07

From the Courts web site, R v PARENZEE

371I reject the evidence of Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Dr Turner.  I conclude, for the reasons expressed, that they are not qualified to give expert opinions about whether it has been proved that a virus HIV exists.  They are not qualified to express opinions on the tests that have been developed to diagnose the virus in humans.  They are not qualified to express opinions about whether the virus is sexually transmitted.  The opinion evidence of these two witnesses is therefore inadmissible.

372 I find that the respondent’s witnesses are all qualified to give expert opinion evidence in their respective fields. I find that the evidence that HIV exists is compelling.  Even assuming that Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos’ and Dr Turner’s evidence was admissible in a trial, I am satisfied that no jury would conclude that there is any doubt that the virus HIV exists. I consider no jury would be left in any doubt that HIV is the cause of AIDS or that it is sexually transmissible.

373In my view, the probative value of the evidence proposed to be called by the applicant is minimal.  The proposed evidence lacks cogency.

374 I am satisfied that no miscarriage of justice has taken place because the evidence now proposed to be adduced was not so adduced at trial.

375 For the reasons I have given, I reject the submission of Mr Borick QC that I should apply the test according to how the case might have been different at trial.  The question to be answered is whether the failure of the jury to have heard the evidence might have led to an unjust conviction.

376 For the reasons I have given, I do not consider that the evidence proposed to be called is plausible or cogent.  There has been no miscarriage of justice.

377 At the trial, the three complainants gave detailed evidence of their sexual contact with the applicant.  Ms C, who has been diagnosed with the virus, gave evidence that her only sexual contact during the relevant time before she was diagnosed as HIV positive, was with the applicant.

378 When the strain of HIV, for which she had tested positive, was compared with the tests from the applicant, the genetic sequence of her HIV positive test had a variance of about 1% from the sequence of the applicant.  There was evidence at trial that of all the virus profiles on the database of the SA Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, the closest profile to that of the applicant was that of Ms C.  The closest unrelated sequence to either the applicant or Ms C had a variance of about 4%.

379 The applicant presented with AIDS symptoms.  His CD4 count was extremely low and his viral load count was very high.  After he was prescribed antiviral medication, his CD4 count increased and his viral load decreased.  He exhibited the symptoms that might be seen in a person who has contracted HIV/AIDS.  He responded to antiretroviral medication in a manner that is expected and is predictable, according to mainstream experts.

380 For these reasons, I refuse an extension of time in which to grant permission to appeal. If an extension of time for permission to appeal were to be granted, I would refuse permission to appeal.

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At last an update about this case. A letter from Parenzee’s mother was published in the Dissident Action MSN group letting us know that the verdict will be pronounced on Friday next (27 April) at 2PM.

In her letter, Parenzee’s mum makes a few points worth noting:

She thinks her son did not do anything wrong when he did not disclose his status. I respectfully disagree, as Andre obviously thought the hiv diagnostic WAS a big deal, which is precisely why he did not tell his partners about it.

She writes that the only infected girlfriend of the three was also a drug user and “was struck off the nursing record for stealing drugs from one of the hospitals where she was working.” This is pretty much shooting your defence in the foot, since it gives credence to the whole hiv thing which they are denying exists in the first place.

Heart-wrenching stuff nonetheless. Nobody wants to be Andre. Nobody wants to be the mother who has to live with this anguish. Nobody wants to be a hiv partner and feel betrayed either. So, what’s a judge to do? We will find out on Friday.

Treatment worse than HIV?

Saturday 14 April 07

My mother died of cancer. Cancer made her hip swell inexplicably and caused her discomfort when she walked. Chemotherapy made her lose her hair, her sight, her dignity, her well-being, her job, any strength she had left.



I was reminded of this dilemma – let the disease or the cure kill you- while watching the AIDS Inc. trailer on YouTube. The video itself only features fragments of sentences which make it a little to sensational for me to be able to form an opinion about the movie. Does it hold any truth or new argument?



However, the CNN website has an article from 1998 about this particular dilemma, When The Cure Seems Worse Than the Disease. In a nutshell, disease is bad, treatment can be really bad but without a treatment the disease can get worse. Which leaves us with the same dilemma, really. How far down the line are we willing to stick with the treatment?



Faced with serious side-effects caused by the treatment, I wonder if I would have the courage to face the disease by itself – save my dignity and make the suffering shorter? Would I be aware enough to realise when the time was coming to take that step? Would I let medecine try everything it can on me, until my last breath, just in case?



Tell me what you would do.





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