HIV-positive former CFLer tells his side of the story from the witness stand
Posted by pozlife on February 2, 2007
Tim Cook, Canadian Press
Published: Friday, February 02, 2007
REGINA (CP) – An HIV-positive former Canadian Football League linebacker took the witness stand Thursday and tried to refute the testimony of two women who accuse him of knowingly exposing them to the virus that causes AIDS.
One-time Saskatchewan Roughrider Trevis Smith testified he never had sex with a Regina woman after he found out he was infected and only had protected sex with the other woman from British Columbia.
In the latter case, he told provincial court Judge Kenn Bellerose that he informed the woman he had the disease about nine months after his positive test.
It’s a revelation that flies in the face of a list of admissions entered into evidence at the start of the trial. In the list, defence lawyers made “a general admission that Mr. Smith did not inform his sexual partners that he was HIV-positive.”
A visibly angry Crown attorney, Bill Burge, pounced on Smith’s story.
“Mr. Smith, I suggest you never told (the B.C. woman) you were HIV positive during the time that you were having sexual relations with her,” Burge charged.
“Yes I have,” Smith retorted.
“I suggest to you, sir, that you had unprotected sexual relations with (the B.C. woman),” Burge continued.
“Then no. I’m not going to say I did, cause I didn’t,” Smith responded.
Smith, who is originally from Alabama, was charged in the fall of 2005 with two counts of aggravated sexual assault for allegedly having unprotected sex with the women without informing them of his condition.
Both women have testified that they had sex with the married father of two after he found out he was infected in November 2003, and that he didn’t use a condom.
On the stand, Smith appeared to struggle with keeping straight all the dates that have been testified to so far.
The woman from Regina testified earlier this week that she heard rumours Smith might be HIV-positive in the summer of 2005 when she was trying to rekindle a casual romance she had once had with him.
He denied the rumours, she said, and they went on to have unprotected sex on three separate occasions.
But Smith testified that he only saw the woman four times in 2005 and they never had sex.
“Out of the blue, she makes a complaint about you?” Burge asked.
“Yes,” Smith responded.
The woman from B.C. testified that she and Smith carried on a long-distance relationship that lasted more than three years.
In August of 2004, she testified that she found a pamphlet called “Living with HIV” among Smith’s things. She said she didn’t confront him with it at the time, but in the weeks that followed he told her he didn’t have the disease.
Smith said this is when he told her he was infected.
“I told her I had it,” Smith said. “She was crying . . . I said I was nervous too.”
The woman testified that they went on having unprotected sex until May of 2005, when she said she found out Smith had HIV through one of his other girlfriends.
Smith admitted that the two were having sex, but said they always used a condom.
Both woman say they have since tested negative for the disease.
Burge tried to attack Smith’s credibility by using evidence already entered at trial.
Smith testified that he didn’t see the B.C. woman in 2003, but Burge showed him several hotel receipts from that year the woman had saved from their encounters.
Smith remember being at the hotel in question with the woman, but maintained it wasn’t in 2003.
A health nurse testified that, in November 2004, Smith told her he was no longer having sex with the woman from B.C. and that they were just friends.
But Burge showed Smith a plane ticket the player had used to visit the woman in the weeks before the meeting with the nurse and reminded him that he and the B.C. woman had sex during trips to Mexico and Las Vegas in the months that followed.
Smith agreed there was sex on the two trips they took, but maintained it was protected.
After being cross examined, Smith returned to his defence lawyer’s table, removed his tie and unbuttoned his collar.
Another of Smith’s girlfriends, who can’t be named under a publication ban, took the stand to say that she had sex with him both before and after his positive HIV test. After, she said, Smith always used protection.
But under cross examination, the woman revealed that they did not start using protection until the summer of 2004 – more than half a year after his test – when she got a call from a woman saying Smith had given her HIV.
© The Canadian Press 2007