Man accused of controlling prostitution is refused bail


Two women discovered in a south Belfast townhouse suspected of being used as a brothel were “listless, skinny and caked in make-up”, the High Court heard yesterday.

The pair, both eastern European, were allegedly taken away from the townhouse by a man who booked the property online.

Josef Elias was later detained in a luxury SUV vehicle with luggage containing sex toys and condoms, prosecutors said.

The 51-year-old Czech national, with an address at View Drive, Dudley in the west Midlands, is charged with controlling prostitution for gain, and both possessing and concealing criminal property.

During a refused application for bail, defence counsel Richard McConkey argued that if his client had been involved in controlling prostitution he would have been able to flee by now through a network of contacts.