A court in Bern has upped the prison sentence for a self-styled “healer” to a maximum of 15 years in jail for intentionally infecting 16 people with HIV using acupuncture needles or injections. The man, who maintains his innocence, had lodged an appeal.
The former music teacher was originally found guilty in 2013 of serious bodily harm and of spreading human diseases and given almost 13 years in jail. The man had had claimed that he was a victim of a plot.
But in its ruling on Friday, the Bern High Court of Appeal said that the evidence against the man was “overwhelming” and that it was proven that the man had gained access to contaminated blood and injected it into his victims.
The judge spoke of a the man having an “audacious approach”.
The 55-year old healer from Bern was accused of injecting his victims with HIV over the period 2005-2011. Many had given evidence at the original trial.
There had been much drama at that trial, including police having to storm the man’s home after he had barricaded himself inside.
Judges in 2013 had sentenced the man to 12 years and nine months, saying he had acted in a “ruthless, devious, senseless and inhuman manner”, and adding that the victims would be burdened with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
The case came to the attention of the authorities after an HIV-positive patient told a Bern hospital he had traced his infection back to acupuncture treatments carried out by the accused.
According to media reports, the majority of the infected individuals were students of a music school run by the man, who also ran an acupuncture practice.
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