HIV-positive stripper infected husband, court hears
2007 07:53 PM
The Crown is calling for a three-year prison term
for an HIV-positive stripper who infected her
husband, never breathing a word about her status for
eight years until she was hospitalized with a
related illness in 2004.
In the mid-1990s, Suwalee Iamkhong arrived in Canada
on a work visa to perform as an exotic dancer at the
Toronto’s Zanzibar club. This was several months
after she had tested positive for HIV in Hong Kong
in 1995, court heard today.
The Thai woman met Canadian Percy Whiteman shortly
after she arrived in Toronto, and they married in
1997. They intermittently lived apart, but
maintained their conjugal relationship for seven
years until she finally informed him she was HIV
positive when she lay in hospital with a related
meningitis and thought she was dying, court heard.
Superior Court Justice Todd Ducharme convicted her
of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and
aggravated assault endangering life in January,
after a two-week trial that took place last fall.
Defence lawyer David Berg is asking for a
conditional sentence to be served in the community
lasting two years less a day.
Iamkhong, 38, claimed that she had taken a Canadian
immigration-related HIV test that cleared her as
negative, which is what she believed. But Ducharme
found that was not credible.
Today Whiteman, 31, succeeded in lifting a
publication ban on his identity.
He told reporters that he wanted the ban removed so
that his estranged wife’s name could be published.
The printing of her name was banned to avoid
“To this day what I say is, `Why?’.” he told
reporters. “I blame society, the system and her.”
He called for a life sentence. “I got a life
sentence. Why can’t she?”
He said when he first found out he “drank like a …
fish.” He wanted to know why, but couldn’t get any
answers, he said. After a week, he left her.
The case returns to court June 12 to set a date for
further sentencing hearings.