German pop star given community service in HIV case
Darmstadt (Germany), Aug 26 (DPA) German pop star Nadja Benaissa walked free Thursday after being given a two-year suspended sentence for infecting a former partner with HIV by having unprotected sex with him.
The singer, who reacted with composure to the verdict, is to serve 300 hours of community service.
Benaissa, of pop group No Angels – once described as “Germany’s most successful girlband” – had admitted she did not tell the man, now 34, that she was HIV positive during their brief relationship in 2004.
She said at the trial that she had kept her HIV status secret because she was afraid it would affect her career.
The dangerous-bodily-harm verdict by the court in Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, was in line with a recommendation by the prosecution.
She was also found guilty of attempted bodily harm on two counts relating to other partners who had not been infected.
Benaissa could have faced up to ten years in jail.
Reading out the sentence, Judge Dennis Wacker said that she had “revealed her HIV infection at no point” to her partners.
Expert witness testimony delivered Wednesday said that there was “probability bordering on certainty” that Benaissa had infected the man, as the form of the HIV virus both have is extremely rare.
However, from the beginning of the trial Benaissa had admitted to the crime and had shown remorse, saying Wednesday that she had made “a huge mistake” for which she would be sorry for the rest of her life.
No Angels, which formed in 2000, broke up and re-formed in 2007, are due to re-start their tour, which had been interrupted because of the trial, “before the end of the year”, according to the band’s website.