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Woman says she was 'bait' in HIV investigation Add to ...

The City of Hamilton is being sued by a woman with HIV who claims officials used her as "bait" to catch a man now facing murder charges for allegedly spreading the deadly virus.

The Brantford, Ont., woman and her children are seeking more than $6-million in damages.

In a statement of claim, "Jane Doe" alleges public health staff and police knew she was sleeping with Johnson Aziga, a known HIV patient, but didn't warn her.

Officials withheld the information because they wanted to arrest Mr. Aziga and "used her for bait," the suit states.

It adds officials didn't issue a public warning "that could have protected her and other women, two of whom have now died," despite believing Mr. Aziga was ignoring orders to not have unprotected sex.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

The city is preparing its statement of defence.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the city's medical official of health, declined to comment on the case Tuesday because it's before the courts.

A police spokesperson also declined further comment.

Counsellor Bernie Morelli, chair of the police services board, said the case is with the city's lawyers. "We'll defend ourselves vigorously."

Mr. Aziga is set to stand trial in October on two counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of aggravated assault. He was arrested in 2003.

The alleged victim, who can not be named, said she's been told by her lawyer not to discuss the civil case as she awaits the criminal trial this fall.

In court documents, the woman states she learned after Mr. Aziga was arrested that officials had identified her as possible victim "before she had been infected."

The claim says Hamilton's public health department was notified in 2000 that Mr. Aziga had HIV and was engaging in "unprotected sexual intercourse with unsuspecting women." Officials sought a court order against Mr. Aziga requiring him to inform his partners.

According to the claim, public health further learned Mr. Aziga wasn't following the order and had infected more partners, but "took no immediate steps to enforce its order."

In early 2003, public health informed the police, who later started to watch Mr. Aziga's actions, the document states.

The woman, the court record reads, met Mr. Aziga in February, 2003, and had unprotected sex with him for several months. She states police saw her visit Mr. Aziga while completing their surveillance.

A test has confirmed the woman is HIV positive.

In her statement of claim, the woman says she would not have had sex with Mr. Aziga if she knew about his condition.

The suit alleges police and city officials were negligent in their handling of the case and failed in their duties to protect the public.

It also seeks damages from Mr. Aziga.

His lawyer could not be reached for comment.



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