Brothers facing trial on trafficking and prostitution charges

Two brothers are to stand trial over an alleged human trafficking and prostitution racket operating in parts of Northern Ireland, a judge has ordered.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th December 2017, 5:41 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 5:46 pm

Romanian nationals Spartacus and Decebal Mihai are accused of involvement in the exploitation of up to four women in Banbridge, Co Down and Belfast.

Cash in excess of £125,000 was allegedly earned through the sex trade, according to the prosecution case.

Spartacus Mihai, 20, formerly of Henly Road in Ilford, Essex, and his 28-year-old brother Decebal, previously from Kenlis Street in Banbridge, were arrested during police searches in May.

According to police four women were rescued from addresses at Kenlis Street and on Belfast’s Newtownards Road.

The defendants both face charges of controlling prostitution for gain and human trafficking, along with acquiring and converting criminal property.

Appearing together at Belfast Magistrates’ Court for a preliminary enquiry hearing, the brothers confirmed that they understood the alleged offences.

Speaking through an interpreter, they declined to call witnesses or give evidence at this stage in the proceedings.

Defence solicitor Niall O’Neill did not contest submissions that his two clients have a case to answer.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall then granted a prosecution application to have the accused returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

Both defendants were remanded back into custody to be produced again on a date to be fixed.

Mr O’Neill confirmed: “There is no application for bail.”