HIV-positive man who failed to warn sex partners loses appeal

VANCOUVER, Canada — A Zimbabwean man who failed to warn sex partners he was HIV positive has lost his appeal.\r\n

Sex offender Charles Kokanai Mzite was convicted on four counts of aggravated sex assault for having sex with four women between 2001 and 2005 without taking measures to protect them from infection or informing them he was HIV positive.

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He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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The trial judge, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston, described Mzite’s offences as “profoundly selfish,” saying: “You infected one woman and exposed three others to very serious risk to satisfy your own needs for intimacy and sexual gratification.”

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Mzite, 39, a dancer and member of a popular marimba band, came to Canada from Zimbabwe in May 2001. He met three of the women through a community of African dancers and musicians in the Victoria area. He met the fourth at a music festival.

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He developed intimate relationships with each of them that lasted from several months to a few years.

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It wasn’t until a party in Tsawwassen five years ago that Mzite admitted to one of the women that he had known he was HIV positive since 1995. He apologized for lying to her and for infecting her.

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The woman contacted police, who launched an investigation. Mzite was arrested in 2007 by Vancouver police.

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On appeal, he argued on that the trial judge erred in admitting statements to the police given in breach of his Charter rights and that the verdicts were unreasonable and unsupported by the evidence.

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Three judges of the B.C. Court of Appeal disagreed in a unanimous ruling today.

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B.C. Chief Justice Lance Finch, in a written decision, dismissed the appeal, finding the trial judge did not err in admitting the statements Mzite made to police, and found there was ample evidence to support the convictions.

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The Vancouver Sun.com

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