Sunday, September 13, 2009

Man convicted of HIV positive rape - sentencing date scheduled for September 25

(Original Post 2-24-09)
A Nigerian immigrant to Canada was convicted of aggravated sexual assault for raping his ex-"girlfriend," causing her to be infected with HIV. William-Imona Russel, 35, was also convicted of beating and endangering the 58 year old victim's life. Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon stated that "there's no absolute proof" that Imona-Russel infected the victim.

The judge found him guilty of assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, threatening death, attempted aggravated sexual assault to endanger life and two counts of sexual assault.
"I do not find Mr. Imona-Russel to be a forthright witness," McMahon said, noting his testimony was not only contradicted by other witnesses but was internally inconsistent.

The judge found that long after Imona-Russel and his former girlfriend ceased to have consensual sex, he visited her apartment on March 3, 2005, pushed, slapped and kicked her, stood on her chest, threw her on her bed, and threatened to kill her with a power drill before having forced intercourse.

On March 13, he returned, pushing open the bathroom door she was cowering behind, grabbed her throat and raped her again. A few days later, the woman complained to police, who had a pair of her underwear tested for Imona-Russel's semen. The test was positive.
Police also urged the woman to get tested for HIV. She was infected.

Imona-Russel stated that he came to Canada claiming refugee status April 2003, then met the victim in an apartment building near the airport. They started having sex until an immigration doctor told him he was HIV positive, and they never had sex again. However, the judge stated that he tested positive for HIV a month before he stopped having sex with his victim.

The victim suffers from PTSD and substance abuse. Imona-Russel is facing charges that in 2006, he stabbed another woman to death.

(Update 9-13-09) Imona-Russel's sentence, according to Crown prosecutor Julia Forward, should be 8 to 10 years for his "violent and callous" crime against his victim. "She's infected because of his selfish indifference and that is something she'll have to deal with for the rest of her life," Foward opined in her argument before Justice John McMahon in Imona-Russel's sentencing hearing.

Lawyer Ferhan Javed, appointed by Justice McMahon to represent Imona-Russell after he fired other attorneys, argued for a 4 to 6 year sentence. Even though the sentencing hearing was Friday, September 11, his actual sentence will be meted out two weeks later, on September 25.

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