HIV transmission remains a focus of criminal prosecutions in Australia, with many of these cases appearing before Victorian courts. This paper will specifically explore the Victorian prosecution of Michael Neal, who was sentenced to 18 years gaol in 2009 for HIV-related offences. This was the first
Victorian prosecution that used intentional and attempt provisions. Neal was portrayed as an evil, vindictive criminal in television and newspaper reports. His monstrous culpability was compounded by
the subtext of bisexuality and hedonism, but also his implied transcendence from heteronormativity to homodeviance. His sexuality was located within various esoteric, depraved and rapacious imaginations, such as sadomasochism, gay orgies and conversion parties. He became a simulacrum of the ‘grim reaper’ of early Australian AIDS campaigns whereby he signified an indeterminate HIV risk for
multiple unknown innocents. He was both risky and culpable. This paper will explore the construction of his risky criminal identity within the socio-legal imagination of HIV transmission criminality.