UK Legal News

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7th December   

Mean Minded in Norwich...


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Jailed for running small brothel
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HM Courts ServiceA woman was caught out for running a small brothel after neighbours became suspicious about the comings and goings at her rented home.

Norwich Crown Court heard how Emmy Berks - herself a former prostitute and recovering drug addict - ran the sex business from the house she shared with her partner. The woman set up the brothel in October 2007 and carried on running it until May 2008, when it was raided by police.

Analysis of the couple's bank accounts found they had made deposits totalling £30,000 while the business was in operation.

Prosecutor Andrew Baxter described how she touted for business over the internet, offering the services of legal aged girls for £90 for the first half hour of business: Extras were on offer and customers were invited to book appointments by contacting a mobile phone number or by email.

He told the court that one of the sex workers Charmaine Bailey, told police Berks had recruited her over the internet. She believed she would be working as an escort but, when she arrived for her first day of work, realised she was required to have sex for money. However, in her statement to police she said she had not been coerced into the sex industry, adding: Sex means little to me; Emmy told me I would be rich.

Defence barrister Katharine Moore said Berks - who has previous convictions for drugs offences and a caution for soliciting for prostitution - had wanted to provide a safe environment for women in a similar position. None of the women had been forced to work as prostitutes: Because of the life she has led in the past she wanted to find a safe way forwards for herself and for others. This is a vulnerable lady in many ways.

Jailing Berks for four months, Judge Paul Downes said: This was an organised activity. It was not enormously extensive but it was fairly extensive and you were receiving half of the profit. It must be made clear to the public that people who operate establishments of this kind will go to prison.

 

11th November   

Softy's Hard Stuff...


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Landlord fined over unlicensed sex shop in Bolton
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Softy's Hard Stuff The landlord of a sex shop made famous by TV show That Peter Kay Thing has been hit with a hefty fine for allowing it to be run as a business without a licence.

John Gill, landlord of the town centre building which houses Softys' Hard Stuff , was taken to court by Bolton Council.

He pleaded guilty to knowingly permitting premises to be used as a sex shop without a sex shop licence, and was ordered to pay £4,000.

Bolton Magistrates' Court heard that council licensing officers approached Gill in November, 2007.
He claimed that as the landlord, he did not know the nature of the business being run from the property in Bridge Street, Bolton, and subsequently threatened to terminate the lease.

However, at court, he pleaded guilty and was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

Softys' Hard Stuff became a household name in 2000 as a result of the episode of That Peter Kay Thing entitled The Ice Cream Man Cometh.

Gill said last night: I'm going to appeal against the fine. I have now told the people at the shop to get their act together.

 

2nd November   

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European court requires e-commerce websites to provide phone number or rapid response web forms
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European court buildings Companies have to provide a means of contact on their websites in addition to their postal and email addresses, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled. A telephone number, or a contact form that is answered within 60 minutes, were deemed acceptable.

The European Union's E-commerce Directive orders companies to publish certain information about themselves on their websites. The measures are intended to protect consumers and apply to almost all commercial websites, not just those that take payments.

Companies must include an email address and a geographic address on their website. The ECJ has ruled, though, that something else is required. That could be the provision of a telephone number but it does not have to be. They have to provide some other way for a consumer to communicate with the company in a direct and effective manner.

The ECJ has ruled that a web form filled in by a consumer and responded to by the company via email was acceptable in a case where the company answered queries within 30 to 60 minutes. It stopped short of suggesting that all companies should respond to web form queries within 60 minutes.

The German Federation of Consumers' Associations (Bundesverband) took a court case to try to force online insurance seller deutsche internet versicherung (DIV) to publish its telephone number on its website.

...Read the full article

 

21st September   

Trafficking Remains Largely Mythical...

Another Pentameter 2 prosecution reveals illegal immigration but not trafficking
Link Here

HM Courts Service Rajakumar Ravi has admitted setting up a brothel in York, under the guise of a massage parlour where illegal Chinese immigrants were paid for sex.

Now the Malaysian-born man and his business partner, Chi Peng Iok, are beginning 21-month jail sentences after undercover police officers posing as customers infiltrated the brothel they set up in Nicholas Street.

It was one of 11 sex-for-sale shops the pair operated across the UK over a 30-month period.

But Ravi and Iok,  who is set to be deported following her prison sentence, were arrested when North Yorkshire Police targeted their York base as part of a people-trafficking probe.

Officers discovered the Nicholas Street massage parlour also offered sex at £100-an-hour, which led to the brothel being raided last December.

Edward Bindloss, prosecuting, said: Ravi arranged the tenancies – they were suburban properties in quiet streets. He spoke to the owners, arranged adverts containing mobile phone numbers and was involved in day-to-day dealings with other agencies, such as landlords and council tax officials. Iok's role was to deal with the prostitutes, answer the phone and welcome customers.

Glenn Parsons, for Ravi, said: The brothels were on a small scale – only one was found to have more than one girl working at any one time. He says that because of his contacts with the Chinese community and ability to speak Chinese, he was approached by others about renting the properties and being their acceptable face. He accepts he managed them, but the full management was kept at arm's length.

Simon Keeley, for Iok, said: It's clear others were involved outside these two defendants. Iok was careful to ensure these young women who worked in the brothels voluntarily were looked after – their welfare was her concern. She has a 20-year-old daughter in China and the plan was to send money back for her university fees and make savings so she could study here, but that never transpired.

The raid on the Nicholas Street brothel was part of Operation Pentameter 2, a UK-wide police probe into human trafficking.

The string of brothels Rajakumar Ravi and Chi Peng Iok ran stretched across the UK – but neither is thought to have made massive profits from them. At various times during the two-and-a-half years the prostitution dens operated, separate payments of £27,000, £35,000 and £9,700 were made into three bank accounts, two in Iok's name and one in the name of another woman. But the court heard the total amount of cash spent on the 11 properties during the same period was £65,734, before other costs such as the prostitutes' wages were taken into account.

Judge Michael Murphy said their sentences would have been much longer had their activities also included human trafficking.

 

10th September   

Comment: Trafficking Pentameter Reads Zero Again...

Madame jailed for brothel with illegal immigrants (but no trafficking involved)
Link Here

HM Courts Service A woman who helped run a Cheltenham brothel staffed by illegal immigrant prostitutes has been jailed.

King Hook Yap ran Eastern Massage and Oriental Massage at St George's Place in Cheltenham, between November 2006 and March 2007.

The enterprise was discovered after a police raid under Operation Pentameter - a major nationwide campaign against human trafficking for sexual exploitation.

But as is usually the case, no mention of any 'trafficking' actually being involved. A rare crime hyped by government propaganda to support their agenda to criminalise men for buying sex.

Ms Yap  pleaded guilty to being involved in managing the brothel and also admitted transferring criminal money [ie the brothel takings] into a bank account.

At Gloucester Crown Court, Yap, was told by Judge Mark Horton: This was a successful and organised operation run as a brothel using illegal immigrants for financial gain. Being concerned in an operation that is solely based on the degradation, abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people acting as prostitutes is not acceptable in any civilised society.

Christopher Wild pleaded guilty to assisting in the management of a brothel by acting as guarantor for the premises was described by the judge as a "complete fool" for getting involved in the operation and sentenced him to two months in prison suspended for two years. Wild was also given a three month curfew between 9am and 5pm.

Virginia Cornwall, prosecuting, told the court that police had obtained a search warrant after a neighbour complained about a large number of men attending the premises for sessions lasting around 30 minutes.

Comment: Poor Woman

From Alan, 10th September 2008

Another poor (literally) woman thrown in prison with a sanctimonious lecture from a judge.

The story doesn't seem to mention how long she got, but it does say she was getting £150-200 a week after passing on the takings to the owners. In fact she was a prostitutes' maid, on abysmal pay.

One of the "crimes" with which she was charged was actually paying the takings into the bank. This, often ludicrously called "money laundering", is one of the 3600 new criminal offences invented by NuLabour since they came to office.

This flood of laws, accurately called "legislative diarrhoea" by a Lib Dem MP, amounts to more than one new offence per day on which parliament sat! Is there ever going to be an end to this daftness?

 

30th August   

A Bit of Lip...

A Bloggers guide to libel and slander
Link Here

Blogger logo Freedom of expression in the UK is not enshrined in law, so bloggers do not have the legal right to say whatever they like.

Under UK law, bloggers do not have the right to remain anonymous and are treated the same as professional journalists or publishers. As a result, bloggers must take care with anything they write about a person or company in an accusatory way.

To defame someone means: To lower the estimation of a person in the eyes of right thinking members of society generally. Even if the words damage a person in the eyes of a section of society or the community, they are not defamatory unless they amount to a disparagement of the reputation in the eyes of right-thinking people generally.

Alongside defamation, the other areas of liability for bloggers are breach of copyright, trade mark infringement, disclosure of confidential details, and types of expression (which are criminalised, like inciting racist violence).

The other main areas of potential liability if you upload content to your own website are:

  • Contempt of Court - talking too much about an ongoing trial
  • Terrorism Act 2006 - inciting, encouraging or supporting terrorism
  • Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 - inciting racial hatred

If a reader takes issue with content you have uploaded to your website, the first you are likely to hear of it is via a letter or e-mail requesting that the content be amended or deleted. Theoretically, bloggers must comply with laws all over the world, but the land where your content is consumed is the most important. Putting a ‘terms of use’ notice spelling out if you read this blog you agree to be bound by the law of… (your home country) can help.

For bloggers, who often populate their web-pages with links, a likely legal challenge stems from the popular process of ‘making available.’ Under copyright law, bloggers can face action for simply linking to a site that infringes someone else’s copyright.

Using a company logo in a blog post can cause problems, even if permission has been granted by the company, or the logo was taken from an ‘Images available for use’ section. Typically, trouble ensues if the company dislikes the content their logo is posted with, and may lead to accusations of dilution of their brand, or unlawful usage of a trademark.

Republishing a libel is the same as publishing it in the UK, unlike in the US. However if you are publishing content penned by another author, give due acknowledgement, and clearly label your content separately to other people’s.

 

29th August   

Inviting Comment...

Relating types of internet forums to libel and slander
Link Here

BBC's Have Your Say page Media sites which ask readers to comment on news stories are at greater risk of bearing responsibility for those comments than for comments in online forums or discussion groups, leading web moderators have warned.

It is generally believed that a web publisher who does not pre-screen user comments is not liable for libellous or otherwise unlawful comments because they had no editorial involvement in them.

Sites which pre-screen all comments are generally deemed to share responsibility with the poster because they have chosen to publish any comments that appear.

But one moderating veteran has said that when unscreened comments appear under news stories the publishers of the site could be liable for them.

Many lawyers I've spoken to now view the invitation of content – so if you have a comments section at the end of an article on a newspaper site – they view that as inviting comment and therefore you are responsible for it and therefore you probably want to consider pre-moderating all the content that goes there, said Danny Dagan, a moderation consultant who has helped establish online communities for The Sun newspaper.

Dominic Sparkes is operations director at Tempero, a moderation firm said that a recent judgment in the UK by Mr Justice Eady might change that. The ruling said that comments on bulletin boards and online discussion groups are more like slander than libel because they are more informal.

Mr Justice Eady had written in that ruling: [Bulletin board posts] are rather like contributions to a casual conversation (the analogy sometimes being drawn with people chatting in a bar) which people simply note before moving on; they are often uninhibited, casual and ill thought out. Those who participate know this and expect a certain amount of repartee or 'give and take'.

When considered in the context of defamation law, therefore, communications of this kind are much more akin to slanders (this cause of action being nowadays relatively rare) than to the usual, more permanent kind of communications found in libel actions.

 

26th August   

The Gucci Girls...

Woman sentenced for running internet escort business
Link Here

HM Courts Service Ramune Miniaskiene made ฃ1.5million from her escort agency in just 10 months. Operating from luxury flats in Bayswater and Marylebone, the set-up had been nicknamed 'The Gucci Girls'.

The Lithuanian marketed her business under the name of Abragirls Ltd and advertised her workers' services extensively on the internet, where clients could choose from a menu of sexual services , Southwark Crown Court heard.

Ms Miniaskiene was charged with conspiracy to control prostitution and was convicted last Friday. She was given a six month jail term suspended for a year.

In court Ms Miniaskiene admitted conspiracy to control prostitution and stashing nearly ฃ150,000 of profits which were found in a safety deposit box.

Mean minded local residents claim Ms Miniaskiene has been let off leniently. John Zamit, president of the south east Bayswater residents association said: It seems a very low sentence for the severity of the crime. It sends out the wrong message. Prostitutes operating in blocks of flats cause a nuisance with their comings and goings.

Karl Upsall, president of the Marylebone Association, was also left open-mouthed by the judgment: In this case there seems to be no excuse for leniency as there might be for the type of prostitutes who walk the street.

Anita Arora, prosecuting in court, said: The web pages for the company provided information about sexual services that the girls provided. It was there for people to see on the internet. There was a menu with codes that would have been known to those who used it. It was open for all to see - these were girls offering full sexual services.

 

15th August   

Update: Pandora's Case...

Swingers Club Liberty snitched up by local nutters
Link Here  full story: Liberty Swingers Club...Sussex swngers club harrangued by the police

Club Liberty logo A former policeman who admitted running a brothel has been spared being jailed.

Brian Sheridan ran Hamshaws, also known as Club Liberty, a club for swingers, with his wife Caroline.

Their plans for a three-day fetish festival on the site at Scaynes Hill, near Haywards Heath, were halted by police in 2006.

Local nutters had hired a snitch private investigator to infiltrate the club. He discovered up to 60 men were attending Pandora’s Party nights held at the club every Wednesday.

The event was run by a prostitute called Pandora and paid Sheridan for use of the club but had two other prostitutes working with her.

Private eye snitch Richard Clarke posed as a new member in April 2006 and paid a ฃ150 entrance fee. He said Pandora and her girls had group and individual sex with clients in the games room while other men watched.

Sheridan and his wife, from Cobham, Surrey, were arrested but denied managing a brothel between November 2005 and June 2006.

They were due to stand trial at Hove Crown Court last month but Sheridan changed his plea to guilty at the last moment. Prosecutors offered no evidence against Mrs Sheridan who was found not guilty on the orders of the judge.

Sheridan was given a ten-month prison sentence suspended for two years. Judge Cedric Joseph also sentenced Sheridan to 40 hours unpaid community work.

Update: Planning to Demolish

30th September

A former brothel and swingers club could be demolished to make way for luxury homes.

If the plans are accepted, it would be the end of a piece of history for the sleepy village of Scaynes Hill, near Haywards Heath.

On Thursday, Mid Sussex District Council will consider the plans to change the face of Hamshaws in Sloop Lane.

The land was bought last year by Scandia Hus. Planners will decide whether to demolish all buildings, including the club house, and allow four detached houses.

 

10th August   

Update: State Theft...

No justice for manager of well run brothel
Link Here  full story: Police Raid at Cuddles...Birmingham brothel raided

Cuddles frontage A Black Country woman who helped run a brothel has been forced to sell her house bought with the proceeds.

Susan Richards was ordered to sell her home and pay back the £ 40,300 profit.

She remained in the public gallery and was emotionless as the order was made by Judge Michael Dudley at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Richards, who helped run Cuddles massage parlour in Hagley Road, Bearwood, for prostitution between October 1998 and September 2005, was given six months to sell the cottage valued at £ 139,100 and pay back the equity.

Miss Heidi Kubik, defending, said Richards had real reservations at her ability to sell the property for the valuation figure.

Judge Dudley granted a maximum period of six months when he made the confiscation order for the proceeds of crime. He added failure to pay would incur a penalty of 15 months’ imprisonment.

Richards was sentenced to 250 hours unpaid work in August 2006. Richards’ former partner Carl Pritchett was jailed for two years.

Comment: I wonder how Judge Michael Dudley sleeps at night

Thanks to Alan

The unfortunate Mrs Richards was, at the time of the ludicrous raid on the brothel, described by a neighbour as "a very nice lady" who was terrified of going to prison because she didn't know what would happen to her cats. In addition to "unpaid work" - a bizarre euphemism for what might more accurately be called slave labour, Mrs Richards is now to be deprived of the home she bought through her honest work running a well-managed brothel in which prostitutes could work safely. In addition to the fall in property values which affects every home owner, the poor woman gets the double whammy of being thrown in prison if she can't raise enough from the sale.

I wonder how Judge Michael Dudley sleeps at night. What sort of person accepts appointment to a position which he must know will involve him in such appalling actions as this state theft?

 

9th August   

Harangued in Harrow...

Another well run brothel business targeted by police with no sign of trafficking
Link Here

HM Courts Service Two members of a family who ran a Harrow brothel were jailed for their role in the ฃ1m business.

Spencer Rolfe and his sister, Adele Lubin, were sent down for 15 months, while her son, David Howard was sentenced to six months suspended for two years. He is also down for 150 hours community service.

Police targeted the family in April last year, after raiding four different brothels. In total police found 17 women believed to be sex workers during the raids, which all took place in north London.

The family were arrested following a four-month investigation, codenamed Acebo, by police from the Met's Clubs and Vice Unit, who had been tipped off by a safer neighbourhood team.

The trio were charged with conspiracy to control prostitution for gain on April 25, and were found guilty on July 9.

Police are currently investigating the possibility of confiscating money they raised through the brothels.

Detective Superintendent Eyles said: This was a well-run, extremely well-organized vice business that was certainly cash rich.

 

10th July   

Update: Sussex Kill Joys...

Swingers club owner prosecuted over Pandora's Party nights
Link Here  full story: Liberty Swingers Club...Sussex swngers club harrangued by the police

Club Liberty logo A man who ran a swingers club has admitted managing a brothel.

Brian Sheridan ran Hamshaws in Scaynes Hill, near Haywards Heath, with his wife Caroline.

Plans for a three day fetish festival on the ten-acre site were halted when police stopped it going ahead in 2006 .

Sheridan and his wife ran the club where swingers met to have sex with each other, often as others watched. But residents complained about activities there and brought in their own private investigator to infiltrate the club.

Karen Holt, persecuting, said up to 60 men attended Pandora's Party nights held there every Wednesday night. The event was run by a prostitute who called herself Pandora, Hove Crown Court heard. She paid rent for the use of the club to Brian Sheridan and had two other prostitutes working with her.

The privte investigator said Pandora and her girls had group and individual sex with clients in the club's games room while other men watched. On a second visit a month later he saw a leather-clad man and woman build a torture rack in the club's main play area. The man was put face up on the rack and blindfolded before being whipped and given electric shocks as hot wax was poured on his chest. Other guests used rooms in the club's 'Wicked Chalet' for sex while being watched by male customers.

Sheridan and his wife, from Cobham, Surrey, were arrested and denied managing a brothel between November 2005 and June 2006. Sheridan changed his plea to guilty before his trial was due to start. The prosecution offered no evidence against Mrs Sheridan who was found not guilty on the direction of the judge.

Judge Cedric Joseph said he will almost certainly give Sheridan a ten-month prison sentence suspended for two years. However, he adjourned sentence until August 11 so that a decision can be taken on how much unpaid community work Sheridan must do.

 

2nd July   

No Fun in Reading...

Woman jailed for operating well run brothels
Link Here

HM Court Service logo A brothel madam responsible for several locations throughout the Thames Valley has been handed a 12-month prison sentence.

Kimberley Davis led a “lavish lifestyle” from a seven-bedroom detached house from where she ran six brothels from February 2006 until January, this year.

The madam, known to punters as “Dominique”, told estate agents she earned her £92,000 a year salary as an aromatherapist, which enabled her to rent and buy a string of properties in Reading town centre, Bracknell, Swindon and Basingstoke.

Davis employed 20 women either as prostitutes or cleaners – including her 16-year-old daughter – a Reading Crown Court judge heard .

Her childminder and cleaner, Barbara Harvey, known as ‘nanny' to Davis's two boys, appeared alongside the brothel madam and was handed a 16 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, for the “lesser” part she played in Davis's operation.

Alan Blake, prosecuting, explained Harvey was responsible for placing adverts in papers in Basingstoke and Reading, Auto Trader, and at Reading railway station.

Davis was charged with six offences of keeping a brothel and one of money laundering while Harvey was charged with one offence of keeping a brothel in relation to the Hurst address.

Rupert Pardoe, defending, told Judge Zoe Smith that Davis had not coerced the women into a life of prostitution and they had all given consent.

Pardoe said: It was an entirely well run and orderly business where the people involved worked in a safe environment.

Davis will have her financial assets and income assessed before her case returns for a confiscation hearing at Reading Crown Court for directions on November 27.

Update: Confiscation

10th July 2009. See article from teletext.co.uk

Barbara Harvey who helped manage a brothel in Reading has been ordered to pay £84,995 after a confiscation hearing.

She was handed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and will now have to sell her house to pay the cash, Reading Crown Court heard.

 

19th June   

Persecuted in York...

6 months for running a brothel with suggestions of duress
Link Here

HM Court Services logo A Scarborough couple who ran a brothel from a terraced house in the town have been jailed for six months.

Neil Hamlet and his wife Wendy were sentenced at York Crown Court after admitting managing a brothel at 6 Rothbury Street between June 2006 and June 2007.

They also pleaded guilty to keeping a brothel for prostitution at 35 Tennyson Avenue, Bridlington, from December 2006 to February 2007.

Dr Tina Dempster, prosecuting, said their girls were self employed and charging £60 for half an hour, of which the Hamlets were taking at least half: They effectively provided the premises. There were staff rules pinned up on the reception desk. It's fair to say it doesn't seem there was anything particularly fixed about the number of girls. They would come and go as they pleased.

On June 7 last year Wendy Hamlet contacted the police to inquire as to whether it was lawful to conduct an escort business.

Anne Munday, in mitigation for Wendy Hamlet, said: The local tax office was informed and their income was declared. She was under what is now obviously the false impression that the business was being tolerated in the local area.

The couple were also ordered to forfeit £427.50 each under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

 

23rd May   

Slavers...

Sex trafficker sentenced to 8 years
Link Here

HM Court Service logoSex traffickers who kept women as "slaves" have been jailed for a total of almost 13 years.

Fei Zhang and his "second in command" Suzhen Xu supplied girls from China and Thailand to brothels in Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Worcester.

Zhang was sentenced to eight years and Xu received four years and nine months.

The brothels were raided in March 2007, Worcester Crown Court heard. Many of the women were forced to pay back a £25,000 bond before they could send money home to their families.

Judge Alistair McCreath said they kept the young, vulnerable women as slaves because they were not allowed to leave the four brothels across the West Midlands. The court heard there were about 20 to 30 girls working in Worcester over a three-month period and many were not allowed to leave the building. After working they were locked in their rooms.

Update: Confiscation

22nd August 2011. See  article from  worcesterstandard.co.uk

The convicted sex traffickers have been ordered to pay back some of the money gained from their crimes. Fei Zhang and Cheng Zhao Su must pay back more than £ 150,000 between them for their part in operating sex brothels or face a longer spell in prison.

The court ruled that Zhang's benefit from his crimes was £ 4,688,243 and he was ordered to pay a confiscation order of £ 35,467.59 within six months or face a further 15 months in prison. During the original investigation into Zhang's finances, West Mercia Police's economic crime unit found he had transferred more than £ 3.8million from his bank account into another account in China. Officers are continuing to try and recover the money.

 

21st May   

Done for keeping a Southwark brothel...

But cleared of trafficking
Link Here

Southwark Crown CourtTwo Eastern-Europeans who ran a brothel in Southall have been jailed for a year each today.

Andrius Zubinas and his girlfriend, Edita Zubkova were each sentenced to 12 months in prison at Southwark Crown Court after being found guilty of controlling prostitution.

The pair were arrested by officers from the Met's human trafficking team on December 6 at the brothel in Lady Margaret Road, Southall.

Both Zubinas and Zubkova were cleared of charges of human trafficking at the same court.

 

9th May   

Big Penalty...

Jail for selling hardcore DVDs from an unlicensed sex shop
Link Here

Big in Amsterdam shopA man who ran porn shops and sold adult films without a licence has been jailed for four months.

Donald McEwan was sentenced by Manchester magistrates after pleading guilty to six offences.

McEwan was charged after police and officers from the council's licensing and trading standards units carried out raids on the Big In Amsterdam shop in Tib Street and the Film Factory in Hilton Street where videos and DVDs were seized.

Three years ago he was convicted of identical offences and was fined. This time the judge told him there was no option but a custodial sentence.

The offences all related to McEwan running unlicensed shops in Manchester city centre's Northern Quarter, as well as selling R18-rated films without a licence and films that had no official age certification.

He was given four three-month sentences to run concurrently and one month, to run consecutively, for non-payment of fines imposed in 2005.

Coun Eddy Newman said: McEwan tried to side-step the council's strict controls and attempted to avoid the licence fee, therefore gaining a commercial advantage over those who operate within the law.

 

8th May   

Ore No Evidence...

Persecutors offer no evidence in Operation Ore case
Link Here

Police raidYou will not have seen it in the news, because for some reason the CPS didn't call a press conference to announce it, nor did they send out a press release for sub-editors to paste verbatim into their rags, but a recent Operation Ore case in Belfast was concluded when the prosecutors came to court and offered no evidence - that's NO evidence.

It was ordered that the defendant should be acquitted, and so ended his 4 year ordeal. It's also now extremely likely that the remaining Ore incitement cases in NI will be dealt with in the same way.

No evidence, because every single piece of the prosecution case - that the accused had used his credit card to pay for child porn - had been showed to be flawed beyond recognition.

 

5th May   

Banged Up for No Good Reason...

Well run brothel owner jailed for 12 months
Link Here

Oxford Crown CourtA woman who ran brothels which earned more than £1m was yesterday jailed for 12 months.

Annabel Wise ran a brothel at Middle Way, Summertown, Oxford, for almost four years in an operation a judge labelled "substantial".

Oxford Crown Court heard claims police had turned a blind eye to the brothel until residents started to complain.

Wise earned about £50,000 a year from the business, while the rest of the money was kept by the prostitutes working there.

Peter Coombe, prosecuting, said Wise's brothels took in about £600 a day - with an estimated turnover of £1.27m over six years. He said when police raided the two-bedroom house last November they found one client and three prostitutes, as well as a part-time receptionist.

Coombe said: The prostitutes were spoken to and it became perfectly clear that all of the ladies involved on that premises were there voluntarily. There was no suggestion or question of duress.

Coombe said Wise, who admitted keeping a brothel was described to the police as a good boss who cared about the prostitutes' safety. He said: There was a laminated menu which set out the services which could be provided and the prices.

Tim Boswell, defending, said Wise ran the brothel to make money but also out of a genuine desire to protect prostitutes. He claimed police knew about the brothel because Wise had reported concerns about a prostitute she believed was being forced into the trade by a pimp.

Boswell said: This brothel was run for several years with the full knowledge of the police. Miss Wise's understanding was that the police would turn a blind eye as long as the brothel was not disturbing anyone and was not a place for drugs or illegal immigrants. It may be that she was lulled into a false sense of security by the police not prosecuting her at that stage.

 

4th April   

Swindle in Swindon...

Rights abusing council drives adult DVD market underground
Link Here

Court Service logo A business man sold uncertificated pornographic DVDs at shops and garages in Swindon.

Philip Tobias was ordered to pay more than £6,000 after admitting 11 counts of owning and selling the explicit adult films at Swindon Magistrates' Court.

He also asked the court to take another nine similar counts into consideration relating to more than 100 films.

The court heard that Trading SubStandards officers seized DVDs, which did not show the legally required classifications, in a number of operations during February and March last year.

Rosie Bone, persecuting, told the court Tobias' XXX Sales company had a £42,000 annual turnover and he paid himself a £20,000 a year salary from the proceeds of selling the blue movies out of the back of a van.

Bone said some of the films would most likely have been given R18 certificates, meaning they could have only been legally sold in sex shops and not in garages and newsagents.

In an interview with the police and Trading Standards, Tobias said that he had run his business selling adult material for three years.

Gordon Hotson, defending, said: We are talking about selling uncertified DVDs. We are not talking about films containing children or unlawful material. These DVDs were adult in nature, but had not been put through the film classification board.

After serious consideration magistrates ruled that they could have sentenced Tobias to a jail term for the offences, but in light of his previous clean record agreed to hand out a financial punishment instead.

He was told to pay £300 for each of the 11 counts, and an extra £3,000 towards persecution costs.

 

2nd April   

Revolting and Disgusting British Justice...

What on earth warranted a 7 year sentence for supplying adult porn?
Link Here

Court Service logo A man has been jailed for 21 months for his part in a business selling pornographic DVDs and videos in the UK.

Michael Fowler was one of five men involved in the business - run from Belgium - which detectives said netted nearly £2m at least between 2005 and 2007.

Judge Charles Gratwicke described the material as revolting and disgusting as he handed down sentences totalling more than 10 years, following a hearing yesterday at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Unemployed George Buchanan who ran the operation from his home in Blanenberge, Belgium, was given a seven-year term. The judge said Buchanan was extradited from Belgium after fleeing, was the central figure.

Unemployed John Dormer who copied and distributed DVDs and tapes, was given a 12-month term. Printer Stephen Fisher who printed brochures advertising DVDs, was given an 18-month term.

Fowler and Malcolm Winter, the business cashiers, were each given a 21-month term.

All five admitted conspiring to supply obscene material and conspiring to launder money.

None of the DVDs or tapes featured children.

 

15th March   

Punishment in Excess of the Crime...

12 months jail for the nonsense offence of running a brothel in London
Link Here

HM Courts Services logo A salesman who turned to a life of vice after falling in love with a prostitute has been jailed for 12 months.

Faisal Sheikh fell into the business of running brothels after paying his Thai wife-to-be for sex.

Sheikh made more than £30,000 from oriental girls who dressed up in PVC nurses' outfits offering punters a "menu of sexual activities".

He was arrested after police raided a brothel at Windmill Lane, Stratford, London on September 5 last year.

Detectives found he was also controlling bordellos in Claremont Road, Forest Gate, and Great Cumberland Place in the West End.

Sheikh admitted three counts of managing a brothel used for prostitution and eight counts of transferring criminal property.

It was raided on September 5, 2006, after police from the Met's Vice Squad raided properties listed in the classified section of local newspapers.

Sheikh's wife was arrested and admitted to assisting in the management of a brothel. She was jailed for eight weeks.

Judge Dodgson told Sheikh he was "intelligent and industrious" but that he did not accept Sheikh had run the brothels for "philanthropic" reasons. Sheikh was jailed for 12 months.

 

15th February   

Persecuted in Eastbourne...

No exploitation at an Eastbourne brothel
Link Here

HM Court services logo A man who ran a sex business in Eastbourne town centre has narrowly escaped a spell in jail.

David Pye was given a 12 month jail sentence suspended for two years.

But because he has been declared bankrupt he will not have to pay any court costs and only £1 of the £122,000 which he was said to have made from the brothel can be confiscated.

The court heard Pye, a father of three, made the money over an 18-month period when he was running the brothel in Susans Road. He advertised the brothel, known as Mermaids, in local publications.

Police raided the building after a tip-off from Pye's ex-partner, Alison Hooper, that prostitutes were working from the premises. Fifteen officers stormed the building in August 2006 and discovered three women working as prostitutes at the time and a male client who was with one of the women.

Pye was arrested some weeks later and a long police investigation began. Pye, who has since been declared bankrupt admitted charges of running a brothel and living off the proceeds of prostitution when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court last year. He was back in court in Brighton to be sentenced by Judge Paul Tain.

Rebecca Upton, defending Pye, noted that none of the women working as prostitutes were underage, working against their will or were being mistreated. The court heard a health visitor had also seen the girls working at the brothel and gave them a clean bill of health and believed they were working there of their own accord.

Judge Tain told Pye he had crossed the custody threshold and sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment but suspended it for two years. Pye was also ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

 

14th February   

Persecuted in Orpington...

Brothel manager jailed, no evidence of exploitation
Link Here

Carlton Spa A brothel manager has been jailed for running a covert sex shop in a spa.

Paul Chapman employed illegal immigrants to offer sex to customers at the Carlton Spa in  Orpington, London.

Chapman was jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to management of a brothel at Croydon Crown Court.

Bromley council sent a private investigator to act as a bogus customer. He visited the brothel in and was offered sexual services for up to £140 an hour. He returned a few months later and was offered the same thing.

Prosecuting, Philip Jones, said: It was discovered that the spa was being advertised on the internet, featuring a large number of females in provocative poses.

Police with a search warrant raided the shop soon afterwards and found that the girls working there were illegal immigrants. Some have since been deported.

John Blandford, defending, said there was no evidence that any of the girls were the victims of exploitation. He said: They were free to leave; no-one was imprisoned there. They turned up for work, did their shift and went home again. It might not be everyone's idea of a career. No-one was forced into it.

 

13th February   

Hard Luck...

Man fined for selling R18s at car boot sale
Link Here

St Helens Council logo A man who pleaded guilty to selling pornographic films at Chalon Way Car Boot Sale, St Helens was fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £1,480.

He was arrested in a joint car boot sale operation between St Helens Council's Trading SubStandards section and Merseyside Police.

He was caught in possession for the purpose of supplying 17 hardcore R18 DVD films. R18 films can only be legally sold through officially licensed sex shops.

 

7th February   

Harmless Brothels...

Illegal immigrants did not imply trafficking
Link Here

Cardiff Crown Court Five women have escaped jail over their involvement in a chain of brothels after a judge ruled no-one had been harmed.

Rooms at three premises in Cardiff and one in Swindon were rented out by prostitutes and their clients, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecuting, Robin Spencer QC said the brothels were in operation between May 2004 and October 2006, and typically took a combined total of £11,000 cash per week.

Diana Jones, who managed all four brothels, admitted managing a brothel used for prostitution and concealing criminal property.

But Judge John Curran ruled she would not be sent to jail. He said: These are crimes which carry a maximum sentence of seven years under the Sexual Offences Act, where prostitutes are coerced, pressured or threatened in some way, but this does not apply in this unusual case. The only aggravating feature is the scale of the operation, as no trafficking has occurred. There clearly was no intention to harm people and no reason to suggest any individual has suffered any physical or psychological harm.

He added that police knew about the premises and officers often visited them to check there were no drugs, illegal immigrants or under-age women working.

Paul Lewis QC, defending Jones, said a BBC documentary team interviewed workers at the Twice as Nice Parlour on Woodville Road, Cardiff, that Jones managed. It was only then that Jones realised two of them were illegal immigrants, but he said she had not helped traffick them to the UK or coerced them into prostitution.

Jones was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years. She was also given a community order of 18 months' supervision and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Four others pleaded guilty to assisting in managing a brothel used for prostitution and were each sentenced to four months' imprisonment suspended for two years with a community order of supervision for 18 months.

Blight's mother admitted paying bills for the brothels at her local post office with cash given to her by her daughter. She pleaded guilty to possessing criminal property. She was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a community order of supervision for 18 months.

Update: Enjoying a Life of Illgotten Gains...Good on her

26th July 2009. Based on article from metro.co.uk

A former brothel manager ordered to pay back millions of pounds from the proceeds of her businesses has said she will not be leave her luxury Mediterranean hideaway.

Diane Jones is enjoying the sunshine of northern Cyprus in a three-bedroom villa after failing to return from a holiday to the island.

The 46-year-old grandmother is believed to have made £4m managing The Ambassador Health Suite, Twice As Nice and Heaven, all in Cardiff, and St Tropez, in Swindon, with the help of four other women.

 

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