A man who was deliberately infected with HIV has been denied compensation because he took part in an anti-austerity protest.
Edinburgh hairdresser Daryll Rowe’s victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted after heckling a Conservative politician in 2012.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) said the conviction meant he was ineligible for any payout.
Rowe was jailed for life earlier this year for infecting six men with HIV.
As a victim of crime, the man – referred to as Matthew – was entitled to about £22,000 in compensation because of the injuries he received at the hands of Rowe.
‘Cruel and wrong’
However, under CICA rules, people with recent or “unspent” criminal convictions cannot qualify for compensation payments.
Buzzfeed reported that Matthew was convicted of “threatening or abusive behaviour” under the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act as a result of the 2012 protest.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and the former UK Justice Secretary, Lord Falconer have written to CICA urging them to rethink the decision to withhold compensation.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Lord Falconer called the ruling cruel and wrong.
He said: “It’s such an injustice. What happened to Matthew was that in 2012 he attended a meeting of a politician and did a one-man protest against austerity shouting things like ‘no ifs, no buts, no public service cuts’.
“He was disruptive but not violent. He was sentenced for a criminal offence to 100 hours community service.”
Lord Falconer said that three years later, Matthew was attacked by Rowe.
He added: “Yet because of the conviction in 2012 for his one-man anti-austerity protest, he’s being denied any compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation scheme.
“That is too cruel and it’s wrong.”
Lord Falconer said that up to 400 people who had been victims of sex crime had been denied compensation under CICA rules. He has called for the scheme to be amended.
Edinburgh hairdresser Daryll Rowe was jailed for eight years earlier this month for deliberately trying to infect four men with HIV. One of them went on to develop the virus.
In April, he had been jailed for life at Brighton Crown Court for trying to infect 10 men with HIV. Five of them contracted the virus.
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “This man sought Ruth’s help as a constituent, and she was happy to write seeking a change in the decision.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “This was a repulsive crime and we have every sympathy for ‘Matthew,’ as well as the other victims in this awful case.
“The CICA compensation scheme clearly sets out that payments are reduced or refused if an applicant has an unspent conviction.
“Those decisions can be appealed through both CICA and the courts, and we are aware of an ongoing appeal in this case.”