A British man accused of knowingly infecting a Gambian woman with HIV denies he gave her the disease.
One Paul Robert Fuller, 49-year-old British man, on 29th December 2015, pleaded not guilty to the charge of willful transmission of HIV before Presiding Magistrate M.S.M. Jallow of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court.
The statement of offence stated willful transmission of HIV, contrary to section 35(1) of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act 2015.
The particulars of the offence stated that the accused sometime in the month of September, 2015, at Bijilo and diverse places in the Republic of The Gambia, knowing fully that he is living with HIV, willfully and without safe sex, had sex with a lady (name withheld) putting her at risk of having HIV and thereby committed an offence, a charge he denied.
Defence Lawyer K. Sanyang in an application for bail on behalf of the accused, said his client has been in custody for over two weeks and submitted that the legislation under which the accused is charged provides that he should not be discriminated for being HIV positive.
He argued that the said legislation prohibits any form of discrimination on the basis of his status and that sections 25 to 34 of the Act speaks volumes on the need for equal treatment before the law.
Lawyer Sanyang therefore urged the court to grant his client bail. He said the accused has to be on constant medication, and submitted that it is because of the safe medication that his client has been taking that he has been able to live with the virus for 35 years, having three children in the process with his first wife and they are free of the virus. He asserted that his client whilst under medication cannot transmit the virus.
Counsel revealed that his client bleeds from his joints, ankle and has a hip and elbow replacement and for that reason he therefore urged the court to grant bail to the accused. He promised the court that his client would be available and would not interfere with the witnesses, citing the provision that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The prosecutor, Sub-Inspector A. Badjie, in reaction objected to the bail application, arguing that the accused is flight risk and that if granted bail he would not come to answer to the charge against him.
He stressed that the witnesses the prosecution relied on are known to the accused and he might have high influence on them.
Badjie submitted that investigations on the matter have finished and expressed the prosecution’s readiness to conduct a speedy trial for the accused to know his fate soonest. He therefore prayed that if the court is minded to grant bail it should be of such that the accused be made to be reporting to the nearest police station on weekly basis and any other condition that would enable them secure his attendance.
Magistrate Jallow in his ruling admitted the accused to bail in the sum of D600, 000 with two Gambian sureties who shall provide title deeds. The accused should be reporting to Brusubi Police Station every Monday and he should also submit his travelling documents to the court registrar or the police.
The case was adjourned to 12th January 2016 at 2.30pm.