Man in court charged with infecting lover with HIV
A man has gone on trial in Auckland charged with knowingly infecting his boyfriend with HIV.
Mikio Filitonga, 37, has denied two charges of causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard and committing a criminal nuisance by an unlawful act.
Filitonga's former partner, whose name is permanently suppressed, alleges the pair had unprotected sex despite Filitonga knowing he had the virus.
Filitonga tested positive for HIV in 2013 and the pair met the following year.
The complainant told the court he visited a doctor in 2014 after falling ill immediately following a trip to the Philippines.
He complained of having a rash, feeling nauseous and fatigued, and suffering sweats, but believed he had a "weird flu" or tropical infection.
In December 2014 he learned he had tested positive for the virus.
The man became emotional during cross examination by Filitonga's lawyer Ross Burns at the Auckland District Court on Tuesday.
He told jurors he had become exasperated and upset with Filitonga, who he said had ignored his texts after he became sick.
"It was because Mikio was acting stranger and stranger, being more and more remote," he said.
"He was always having excuses why he couldn't see me. He wasn't where he said he was.
"We were supposed to be boyfriends and all I felt . . . it was like he was getting scared to be close, or maybe I was getting too close to the truth."
He had responded by threatening to visit a "sauna", with the implication that he was going to have sex with other men.
Texts he sent Filitonga were read aloud to the court, with Filitonga's lawyers suggesting he had been sleeping with other people.
"It was a threat. I never went [to the sauna]," the man told jurors.
"I was just saying s... like that to p... him off. I wanted him to give me some indication of what was going on with us. He was ignoring me."
Burns put to the man that he had brought the court case because he was "angry" at Filitonga.
The complainant responded strongly.
"Not at all. Why would I go through three years of agony? Putting up with this. Thinking about about it every day. Why would I go through all of this horrible-ness?"
Burns said Filitonga had been transparent about his HIV status and the pair had used protection.
"All of your subsequent sex acts from the time you met him to the time you broke up, everything you consented to doing was informed by the fact that you knew he was HIV-positive," Burns said.
The man disputed that: "I'd asked him several times and he denied it every time."
Before his diagnosis the man had sent a pleading text to Filitonga, read to the court: "Please tell me now, for real, have you got HIV or something? Something is not being said. Is that why you avoid having sex?"
The man denied having sex with other people, telling jurors he loved Filitonga.
When asked about the possible existence of other partners, he said: "That would be the obvious question for you to ask [but] nobody at all. Nobody at all.
"I was in love with Mikio . . . I was in love with the guy," the man said.
He agreed he had sent "lots of rambling texts" to his former partner, including what he described as "silly talk" where he suggested the pair had group sex.
"Really I just wanted to be with him," the complainant said.
"Whatever he wanted, whatever would please him."
Screens had been erected in the courtroom so the complainant could not see Filitonga.
However, he gestured toward him after becoming emotional while speaking of their relationship.
The court was closed while he gave evidence, which finished on Tuesday morning.
The Crown was due to call the complainant's former partners, but their evidence will instead be read to the court.
The trial, set before Judge Mary Beth Sharp, was initially estimated to take two weeks but is now expected to be shorter.