A CANADIAN Supreme Court judge denounced the conduct of a Zimbabwean who had sex with three women without telling them he was HIV positive, before sentencing him to 11 years in prison.

"His selfish and callous disregard for the complainants is inhumane," Justice Janice Dillon said last Friday as she handed down sentence at a New Westminster courtroom in British Columbia.

Bongaini Nyoni, 42, was found guilty by a jury earlier this year of three counts of aggravated sexual assault, which took place between August 2007 and September 2009.

The victims were three women, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, with whom Nyoni had relationships.
Nyoni had unprotected sex with the women on multiple occasions and never told them he was HIV positive, a fact of which he was aware since as early as 2005. With two of the women, he told them outright that he did not have HIV.

Two of the women contracted HIV from Nyoni.

"He took advantage of the love and care each of the complainants bestowed upon him," Dillon said.

Nyoni claimed he had told the women about his status and said he used condoms on all but one occasion.

All of the women testified during trial that they would not have had sex with Nyoni if they had known he was HIV positive.

Dillon said Nyoni knowingly lied or deliberately misled his victims about his HIV status.

"He was a calm and smooth-talking, deceitful manipulator," Dillon said.

Even after Nyoni was contacted by health officials – the two women who had contracted HIV had named him as a sexual partner – and asked to reveal who his partners were, Nyoni avoided their calls and deceived them.

"His conduct shows a lack of insight and compassion into how his actions affected others," Dillon said.

In written victim-impact statements, the two women who contracted HIV described suffering from depression and a variety of health problems. Neither is able to work.

Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 13 to 14 years, while the defence had suggested seven years.

"Mr. Nyoni engaged in the riskiest behaviour with the highest moral culpability that warrants the highest sentence," Dillon said.

Nyoni was given eight months of credit for time served, leaving 10 years, four months in his sentence. Nyoni, who was allowed into Canada on humanitarian grounds from Zimbabwe via South Africa in 2007, will be subject to deportation once he has completed his sentence. – AGENCIES

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