Ex-Roughrider sentenced to six years: `I just want to say sorry for everything’

REGINA–An apology to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, his children, his wife and his lovers wasn’t enough to spare an HIV-positive former Canadian Football League linebacker a prison term for aggravated sexual assault.

Trevis Smith was sentenced yesterday to 5 1/2 years behind bars for knowingly exposing two women to the virus that causes AIDS by having unprotected sex with them and not revealing his condition.

Provincial court Judge Kenn Bellerose added another six months to the sentence for two bail violations Smith pleaded guilty to earlier in the day, making the sentence an even six years.

"For this, I apologize to this province and to the team that I represented the last seven years," Smith said from the prisoner’s box in a barely audible voice before Bellerose made his ruling.

"I also want to apologize to the women that I’ve been involved with during this time and my wife for my actions and I ask that she’d forgive me for me committing adultery.

"I just want to say sorry for everything."

But Bellerose didn’t waver.

"As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Smith was very deceitful and very dishonest," he said.

"I’m satisfied he displayed, throughout this whole time – from when he learned he had HIV in November of 2003 until the time of his arrest in October 2005 – a very indifferent attitude with respect to the expectations that the law required on his part to basically come clean with respect to his sexual partners."

Smith showed no reaction as the judge ruled. His wife, who had stood behind her husband throughout the entire trial and could be heard crying as he apologized, left court without talking to reporters.

His lawyer, Clemente Monterosso, also refused comment. An appeal of the conviction has already been filed.

Smith was found guilty at a trial earlier this month and the Crown had asked Bellerose to put him away for at least 10 years.

During his trial, Smith testified that he didn’t have sex with one of the women after he found out about his condition and maintained he told the other woman about his infection, then always used a condom. But the judge didn’t believe him.

In sentencing arguments, prosecutor Bill Burge suggested Smith selfishly lied to the women for his own sexual gratification in a case that ranks "among the worst of the worst."

"This goes beyond recklessness," Burge said. "It’s the deliberation that really aggravates this."

He argued that Smith knew the dangers of HIV and knew that he had a responsibility to disclose his condition to his sexual partners.

Smith didn’t even tell one of the women, who is from British Columbia, about his condition when he became aware that she planned to donate a kidney to her ailing father, Burge said.

But Monterosso argued that neither of the women contracted HIV and he tried to raise doubt about how much the victims had really suffered.

The B.C. woman, in particular, didn’t seem to have much trouble testifying and would sometimes make eye contact with her friends in the gallery.

"She seemed to have fun on the stand," Monterosso said. "She did not look so traumatized."

Smith, on the other had, lost his job with the Roughriders because of the case. He no longer has his $90,000 salary or a house, Monterosso said.

"He’s lost everything he had."

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