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Deportation to New Zealand a possibility for sex worker who infected client with HIV and was sentenced to jail.


Sex worker imprisoned for infecting client with HIV now faces new trial

  • Clayton Palmer had sex with client knowing she was HIV positive
  • Sex worker fights to end permanent deportation

A prostitute jailed for infecting a client with HIV fights to stop her deportation from Australia to New Zealand.

Clayton Palmer, who is transgender, was convicted in 2018 by Western Australia District Court of one count of grievous bodily harm in connection with having sex with a client.

The man became infected with HIV during the encounter, despite Palmer knowing she was HIV positive.

Palmer was sentenced to six years in prison at the time, which was reduced to four years on appeal.

She had been an Australian resident since 2006, but had her visa revoked due to her criminal record.

Clayton Palmer (pictured), a sex worker jailed for infecting a client with HIV, is fighting to avoid being permanently deported to New Zealand

Palmer’s deportation from Australia to New Zealand was confirmed following a federal government decision to revoke her visa.

Lawyers for Palmer from the HIV/AIDS Legal Center appeared before the Federal Court in Sydney on Tuesday in an attempt to overturn the decision.

Palmer’s defense counsel Bora Kaplan argued that she was having trouble coming to terms with her diagnosis at the time of the assault, but that she was taking medications that reduced her chances of infecting a partner.

“The evidence to the (immigration) minister was pretty clear in my respectful entry, and it was that Ms. Palmer had been consistently taking her medication since 2016,” Kaplan said.

“Importantly, even during the time she had relapsed into illegal drug use… there was nothing to indicate that there was any risk that she would stop taking those drugs in the future.

“Evidence has shown that HIV cannot be passed from A to B if A has an undetectable viral load, as Palmer did.”

Clayton Palmer (under the blanket) is pictured at Perth International Airport in 2018

Clayton Palmer (under the blanket) is pictured at Perth International Airport in 2018

However, Mr. Kaplan admitted that Ms. Palmer’s initial reaction to the diagnosis was one of denial.

“The only reason that should not be defended by the respondent is the second of those reasons I mentioned in paragraph 30,” he said.

“That is, before starting treatment, Ms. Palmer denied her diagnosis, used drugs, and was reckless in her approach to her own sexual health and that of her sexual partners.”

Palmer previously told a tribunal that she wanted to stay in Australia and maintain her contacts with communities, including people living with HIV, transgender people and sex workers.

The hearing has been adjourned.

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