Outrage as witness learns he has HIV in courtroom

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AIDS charities have condemned the Crown Prosecution Service after a stunned witness was told in front of a packed courtroom he had the HIV virus even though he was unaware he had been tested.

The judge imposed an order banning identification of the man or the court case in which he was appearing.

The man was being cross-examined by a defence barrister, who assumed he knew he was HIV positive. When he denied any knowledge of having the virus, the man was told hehad tested positive earlier this year. A sample of his blood had been given to the police fortesting in September following the witness's arrest on suspicion of an offence but he was later released without charge. The judge said the sample should then have been destroyed and demanded an inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the Terrence Higgins Trust said: "To be tested for HIV without your consent is absolutely wrong. To hear the results in court is appalling"

The mistake took place earlier this month but could only be reported at the end of the case.