Australia Queensland

Last updated on: 6 February 2014

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Australia Queensland
Whether Specific law enacted: 
No
Number of people prosecuted: 
4 known
Number of people convicted: 
2 known, 1 on appeal
Applicable law: 

Public Health Act 2005

Criminal Code 1899

Key wording in the law: 

Public Health Act 2005: recklessly put someone else at risk, recklessly transmit.

Criminal Code 1899: grievous bodily harm

Key Cases: 

April 2013: Queensland Court of Appeal hears argument that ‘recklessness does not constitute intent’ in case of Zimbabwe migrant sentenced to 9 1/2 years for ‘intentionally’ transmitting HIV.A circus acrobat is appealing his conviction for deliberately infecting his girlfriend with HIV. In April, Zimbabwe-born Godfrey Zaburoni was handed a nine-and-a-half-year jail term after becoming only the second person in Queensland to be convicted of intentionally transmitting a serious infectious disease.

Discussion: 

Public Health Act 2005(s143) Person must not recklessly spread controlled notifiable condition

(1) A person must not recklessly put someone else at risk of contracting a controlled notifiable condition.

Maximum penalty—200 penalty units ($10 000) or 18 months imprisonment.

(2) A person must not recklessly transmit a controlled notifiable condition to someone else.

Maximum penalty—400 penalty units ($20 000) or 2 years imprisonment.

(3) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) if, when the other person was put at risk of contracting the condition, the other person—

  1. knew the person had the condition; and
  2. voluntarily accepted the risk of contracting the condition.

(4) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (2) if, when the condition was transmitted to the other person, the other person—

  1. knew the person had the condition; and
  2. voluntarily accepted the risk of contracting the condition.

(5) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) or (2) by merely refusing, or failing, to be vaccinated against a condition for which there is a recognised and reasonably available vaccine.

Queensland Public Health Law does not specifically require a HIV-positive person to disclose her or his HIV status before having sex.

Criminal Code 1899 (s317) Acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm and other malicious acts

Any person who, with intent-- (b) to do some grievous bodily harm or transmit a serious disease to any person is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for life.

Criminal Code 1899 (s320) Grievous bodily harm

Any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.