A Sexual Harm? HIV Transmission, ‘Biological’ GBH and Ancillary Sentencing Provisions in England and Wales

AuthorCameron Giles
Published date01 June 2021
Date01 June 2021
Subject MatterArticles
ASexual Harm? HIV
Transmission, ‘Biological’
GBH and Ancillary
Sentencing Provisions
in England and Wales
Cameron Giles
London South Bank University, UK
This article examines the scope and meaning of ‘sexual harm’ within the context of ancillary
sentencing orders in England and Wales. It argues that the statutory definition provided in the
Sexual Offences Act 2003, recently replicated in the Sentencing Act 2020, does not extend to
the transmission of sexually communicable infections and that, subsequently, it is inappropriate
for Sexual Harm Prevention Orders to be imposed with the aim of preventing transmissions of
sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It suggests that recent case law reinforces this point and
that the questions this raises reflect the broader need for further scrutiny of the aims and
purposes of sentencing, and criminalisation more generally, in instances of STI transmission.
Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, sexually transmitted infections, pt 2 Sexual Offences Act
2003, sexual behaviour, sentencing
The continued criminalisation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission, along with the
limited use of the criminal law in instances where other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are passed
between sexual partners, remains a contentious legal issue. In the decade and a half since Dica and
Konzani, which firmly established the application of ss 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act
1861 (‘OAPA 1861’) in transmission cases,
there has been extensive debate surrounding the overall use
Corresponding author:
Cameron Giles, Law Division, School of Law and Social Sciences, London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1
0AA, UK.
E-mail: gilesc4@lsbu.ac.uk
1. R v Dica [2004] EWCA Crim 1103; R v Konzani (Feston) [2005] EWCA Crim 706.
The Journal of Criminal Law
2021, Vol. 85(3) 209–222
ªThe Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0022018321991097

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