I wrote a post back in February about HIV’s “Kitzmiller vs. Dover” trial. The trial was appealing the sentence of one Andre Chad Parenzee, a native of South Africa who’d been convicted in Australia back in 2004 of infecting one woman with HIV (and exposing two others). Parenzee knew of his HIV+ status, telling the women he had cancer instead and not disclosing his infection nor using condoms. In the appeal, the HIV “dissidents” led the way, with Valendar Turner and Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos of the Perth group taking the stand and denying that HIV even existed. Papadopulos-Eleopulos also uttered this memorable line:
She was asked by prosecutor Sandi McDonald whether “you would have unprotected vaginal sex with a HIV-positive man”.
“Any time,” replied Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos.
Well, the decision is in…
…and the judge ended up throwing out the appeal:
Justice John Sulan today dismissed the witnesses’ testimony, saying the pair lacked credibility and were advocates for a cause rather than independent experts.
He said the evidence that HIV existed was compelling and he rejected the application for a re-trial.
“I am satisfied that no jury would conclude that there is any doubt that the virus HIV exists,” he said in his judgment.
“I consider no jury would be left in any doubt that HIV is the cause of AIDS or that it is sexually transmissible.”
Like the Kitzmiller trial, HIV “dissidents” had hoped the judge would take their side, and finally give their movement a bit of credibility. From what I’ve read from emails they sent me and others behind the scenes, they were gloating about how the judge seemed to treat witnesses from the side of mainstream science, and seemed pretty confident to me that they had a slam dunk. Those quotes above must sting a bit.
Like Judge Jones in the Kitzmiller verdict, Judge Sulan made it very clear what he thought of the “dissident” witnesses and tactics:
Justice Sulan said Ms Papadopoulos-Eleopulos, a physicist who works at the Royal Perth Hospital, relied upon opinions of others, which she often took out of context and misinterpreted.
He said claims that HIV testing methods were flawed were unfounded and the virus had been thoroughly studied by international experts.
It’s always a little worrisome when you have a non-scientist adjudicating matters such as these, that involve rather complicated virology, serology, diagnostics, epidemiology, etc., but it’s clear that the prosecution made their case, and the motivations and lack of credibility and scientific expertise of the defenses so-called “experts” shone through. The legal system certainly hasn’t been kind to the anti-science movements lately…I wonder which one will be the next to fall?