23 Mar 2006

PNG police ponder charging MP for spreading HIV

4:06 pm on 23 March 2006

Papua New Guinea police are considering whether to charge a yet to be named MP under the country's new HIV/AIDS prevention law.

If they do proceed it will be the first time that the law, which has only recently been gazetted, has been applied.

The law is aimed at people diagnosed with the virus who intentionally infect their partners.

The newspaper, The National, reports police had interviewed two of the MP's partners before they died of the disease and that they have enough evidence to bring charges.

However a police spokesman says a decision to charge the MP is yet to be made.

The legal advisor for the National Aids Council Secretariat, Bomal Gonada, says there are a range of penalties for people charged under the new legislation.

"We have connected the intentional transmission provision to our local criminal code which talks about penalties in relation to what we call assault occasioning bodily harm to as far as unlawful killing. The penalty will depend if it's really aggravated or not. The circumstances will tell in terms of the evidence that is collected."