An HIV-positive Victorian man who knowingly infected a woman was sentenced to four-and-a-half years' jail and will be eligible for parole in two years and three months. Wepukhulu Zebtek, 44, from Ivanhoe in Melbourne, was sentenced in the West Australian District Court. He pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm in court in October, admitting to having sex with a Perth woman in 2007 while aware he had HIV. She later tested positive to the virus.
Originally from Uganda, Zebtek had befriended the woman, a widow who had fled Sudan for Uganda before coming to Australia. He spoke to her in her native tongue of Swahili as she walked home from the train after her cleaning job in November 2007.
The court was told Zebtek, who had known he was HIV positive since 1993, did not wear a condom and did not tell the woman he had the life-threatening virus. The court heard Zebtek was an intelligent man, who held a masters degree in education and had worked as a teacher in Uganda. He was counselled by the Victorian Department of Health in 2002 after several reports he was having unprotected sex with women other than his wife. He was given comprehensive and clear evidence about the risk of unprotected sex and was told he must practise safe sex.
In sentencing, Judge Allan Fenbury said Zebtek bad displayed "extremely selfish behaviour" and his actions were both appalling and disgraceful. "You gave your own need of sexual gratification over the health of a human being," Judge Fenbury said.
He had faced a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.