A convicted transgender prostitute who intentionally infected a client with HIV is now fighting against permanent deportation to New Zealand.
CJ Palmer was found guilty in 2018 by the Western Australia District Court of causing grievous bodily harm to a client with whom she had sexual relations. Despite knowing her HIV-positive status, Palmer endangered the man’s health, resulting in his contraction of the virus.
Although initially sentenced to six years in prison, Palmer’s term was reduced to four years on appeal. She had been living in Australia since 2006, but her visa was subject to mandatory cancellation due to her criminal record. After her visa was canceled by the Minister, Palmer was ultimately deported from Australia to New Zealand. On Tuesday, lawyers representing Palmer from the HIV/AIDS Legal Centre appeared in the Federal Court in Sydney, seeking to overturn the decision.
“The evidence before the (immigration) minister was quite clear in my respectful submission, and it was the Ms. Palmer had consistently taken her medication since 2016,” Palmer’s counsel, Bora Kaplan said. “Importantly, even during those times that she had relapsed into illicit drug use, and there was nothing to suggest that there was a risk that she would stop taking that medication going forward.”
“The evidence established that HIV cannot be transmitted from A to B, if A has an undetectable viral load as Palmer did.”
“The only reason is not to be defended by the respondent is the second of those reasons that I identified in paragraph 30,” Kaplan stated. “That is that prior to commencing treatment, Ms. Palmer was in denial about her diagnosis took drugs and was reckless in her approach to her own sexual health and that of her sexual partners.”
While her lawyers attempted to appeal the decision and allow her to remain in Australia, the Australian government has the authority to deport individuals who do not meet the requirements for lawful residence. The hearing has reportedly been adjourned.