Ireland

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Ireland: Police HIV risk “as likely as being struck by asteroid”; compensation slashed

13 Jul 2010
The risk faced by Irish police of occupational exposure to HIV and other blood-borne infections is “as likely as being struck by an asteroid,” according to expert testimony during a test compensation case conducted by Ms Justice Mary Irvine in … More

Ireland, UK, US: Spitting and biting cases highlight police ignorance

03 Aug 2009
Whether its Fort Mill, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Rutland, Vermont; or Wimbledon in the UK, the police and media have been over-estimating the risk of HIV transmission from biting or spitting over the past two weeks with devastating consequences for … More

Ireland: Court agrees ‘HIV’ spit was provocation to kill

24 Mar 2009
Brendan O’Connor, 25, who killed 50 year-old father of four Edward Clancy, “by stamping on his head with his full body weight” did so because he spat at him and he thought the man was HIV-positive. His plea of manslaughter … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

unclear if exposure or transmission can be prosecuted

Laws

Applicable laws

Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act of 1997 - Sections 4 and 13

  • This is a not an HIV-specific law.
  • It is unclear whether it could be used to cover exposure as well as transmission.
  • Punishable sentences range from a fine through to life imprisonment (or both).

Please read the 'Discussion' section below as the use of this legislation in the context of HIV remains theoretical at the time of writing according to our 2008 correspondent

 

Applicable key wording

Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act of 1997

Section 4

1) A person who intentionally or recklessly causes serious harm to another shall be guilty of an offence.

2) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or to imprisonment for life or to both.

Section 13

A person shall be guilty of an offence who intentionally or recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another. A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable

(a) on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to both.

Discussion

From the responses received, it would appear that there are no known prosecutions for the transmission of HIV (or exposure to it) in Ireland.  Consequently we have been informed that there are no specific laws that criminalise it.  However, in the absence of any prosecutions citing any breach of the penal code, we have decided to repeat the above 'all encompassing' laws that we learned of in previous scans.

Furthermore, discussions are currently taking place at national level about:

  • the risks of non-disclosure of HIV status,
  • the public health arguments for making HIV a notifiable disease, and the possible inclusion of partner notification.
  • Notwithstanding this we are told that the debate is sensitive to the fact that HIV remains stigmatised and consideration is being given to the difficulties that HIV-positive people may face in disclosing their HIV status.

In addition, there is a desire to address the situation of “reckless transmission” by the formulation of guidelines for best practice.  These discussions are taking place within the multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary context of the National AIDS Strategy Committee.

Transmission of other sexually transmitted infections is subject to prosecution.

Further reading

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/country/ie/

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017