- Published: 04 May 2014
- Written by Staff Reporter
A MARRIED Zimbabwean based in Canada who had unprotected sex with three women despite knowing he was HIV positive and who infected two of them with the virus, should be jailed for 13 to 14 years, a local court heard Thursday.
Crown prosecutor Lionel Yip made the recommendation at the sentencing hearing for Bongani Nyoni, 42, who was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of three counts of aggravated sexual assault.
Yip told Judge Janice Dillon in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster that a lengthy jail sentence is in keeping with other similar cases with multiple victims, some of whom were also infected.
Defence lawyer Troy Anderson is seeking a seven-year jail sentence.
Nyoni, a large man with a shaved head wearing a blue open-collar dress shirt, sat in the prisoner's dock, separated by plexiglass from the public gallery where a number of women sat in three separate groups.
Nyoni, who learned he was HIV positive as early as 2005, was found guilty of having sex with the complainants, who could not be named by court order, without telling them.
The women had testified they wouldn't have had sex with Nyoni if they had known he was HIV-positive.
Nyoni testified at trial he told the women he had HIV before they became sexually active and that he always used a condom.
In calling for the "significant" sentence, Yip said, "This case calls for the protection of the public through general deterrence and denunciation.
"His behaviour has shown that he has no regard for the wellbeing or safety of others," said Yip.
He said the complainants' testimony and their victim impact statements, which were entered into court but not read aloud, showed the "turmoil and stress they endured when they learned they had been exposed and tested positive (for HIV) and the devastation this medical condition has brought to lives."
Anderson read into court letters from Nyoni's supporters, including his wife, with whom he has a two-year-old daughter, a church pastor and a representative from a society that helps Zimbabweans in Africa and immigrants from that country, for which Nyoni volunteered.
Nyoni owned an office-cleaners company in Edmonton, where he's worked for the past two years, and regularly sent money home to his siblings in Zimbabwe and to his wife and daughter in B.C.
Nyoni, who also has two teen daughters from his first marriage, came to Canada as a refugee from Zimbabwe, where he claims to have been tortured, and will "most certainly be deported" after serving his sentence, said Anderson. - The province