James the first gay man in U.K. to be accused of infecting partner with HIV, causing grievous bodily harm
A “callous, lying and violent” man who “recklessly” infected his gay lover with HIV now faces up to three years in prison, according to a report published Sunday in the United Kingdom’s Wandworth Guardian.
Mark James, 47, the first gay man in the United Kingdom to be accused of infecting his male partner, failed to appear for sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court on Aug. 4 on a charge of causing grievous bodily harm.
James had admitted the charge, relating to a 38-year-old former partner, when he appeared at the court in April but then spent weeks trying to renege on his plea before jumping bail, the Guardian reported.
The partner, who had shared James’ home in Brentford, learned of James’ HIV status on the day when he was told of his own HIV status.
The man said the impact was “huge.”
“I was very upset, I was crying, and the first thing I said was, “‘I am either the unluckiest man in the world or he has been lying to me.’ I felt hugely betrayed,” he said.
James was originally arrested and charged with assault and making threats to murder his partner. But when scientific evidence indicated he had knowingly infected his partner, he was charged with causing him grievous bodily harm.
Defense counsel Robert Ellison said James had led a “productive and constructive” life, had always been in work and had never been in trouble before.
He was in need of constant medical treatment and prison would be very hard on him, Ellison said, adding that he was unable to say where James was.
If and when James is caught by police, he will start serving the sentence automatically plus anything added for his breach of bail.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 25, 2006.