((HT: Chris Purdy/CP))
Former Saskatchewan Roughrider football player Trevis Smith ((pictured, thanks/CP file)) is applying for his first shot at freedom since he was sent to prison for knowingly exposing women to the virus that causes AIDS.
One ex-girlfriend who will be attending the National Parole Board hearing Wednesday said she plans to ask the board to keep Smith, who was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault, behind bars for his full six-year sentence.
"I think he thought he was above the law for the longest time," the 32-year-old woman from Regina said in an interview Tuesday.
The woman, who can't be named because of a court-ordered ban, was not a victim in the case against Smith, but helped spark the investigation against the football player. Her positive HIV test led to Smith being tested in 2003.
Smith, an inmate at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, is seeking full parole status. If granted, he would be released on February 25. The married father of two, originally from Alabama, was found guilty in 2007 of having unprotected sex with two women and not informing them he was HIV-positive.
Smith was a starting middle linebacker with the Saskatchewan Roughriders when he was arrested in 2005 during the final days of the Canadian Football League's regular season as the team prepared for the playoffs.
The two victims in the case, another woman from Regina and one from British Columbia, both testified at trial that Smith denied having the disease when they were intimate with him. The woman from British Columbia, who actually had a three-year relationship with Smith, testified the football player didn't even tell her about his condition when she talked about her plan to donate a kidney to her ailing father.
Neither victim contracted HIV, but the B.C. woman said she had thoughts of suicide while waiting for her test results. Smith testified in his own defence at trial. He claimed he told the B.C. woman about his condition and they used condoms from that point on. He testified that he didn't have sex with the Regina victim after his positive test.
But provincial court Judge Kenn Bellerose didn't believe him. He sent Smith to jail for 5 1/2 years describing him as a "deceitful and dishonest" man. Smith was also given an additional six months for violating bail conditions while awaiting trial. He was not be alone with females over 14 years of age, but court was told he made out with one woman while on bail. The woman asked Smith about his arrest and he denied having HIV, the judge heard. In the second breach, Smith told his bail supervisor he was going to a house for work, but he was really planning to meet up with a girlfriend.
Smith lost his job with the Roughriders because of the crime. After he was sentenced, he apologized in court to the team, as well as his wife -- who stood by him during the trial -- his two children and his many lovers. Smith later appealed his conviction, but he lost his case before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.
Bernard Pitre, a spokesperson for the National Parole Board, said full parole is only granted if an inmate can show he does not present a risk to the community. He said Smith is likely to present the board with a release plan that includes where he would live, what he would do for a job and what he has for community support.
The board also has the option of granting Smith day parole, which would send him to a halfway house. Pitre said he also expects the board will hear information on whether Immigration Canada plans to deport Smith to the United States if he is released.
If denied parole, Smith can re-apply in about six months and gets an automatic review in two years. He is slated for statutory release on February 26, 2011.