herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

Homeless offender hit the bottle after HIV blunder

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A homeless man who hit a security guard during a drunken disturbance had turned to alcohol after being misdiagnosed with HIV, a court heard.

Janis Butans (37), originally from Latvia, had spent six years believing he was HIV posi- tive before discovering that he had "no disease whatsoever."

Dublin District Court was told that Butans, who has a record of public order offences, no longer felt the need to drink to excess because he no longer had the worry of his diagnosis.

Butans admitted public order offences relating to an incident last April.

The court heard he was in a drunken state at the IFSC at George's Dock and was asked by security staff at a premises to leave.

Threatening

He was threatening and abusive and struck the guard in the face with an open hand before being restrained, a garda said.

The strike was "more of a push", his lawyer said, adding that Butan had an "unusual story".

He had come to Ireland from Latvia after having been given an HIV diagnosis six years ago.

He could not cope and ended up living on the streets.

However, two months ago he found out this was incorrect and he never had HIV or any other disease. The accused was now trying to make a life for himself after six "very difficult years", the lawyer said.

He had worked on building sites and landscape gardening and was hoping to get back into that.

He had also contacted lawyers in his home country in relation to his false diagnosis.

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