By Gordon Deegan
A husband and wife team who charged clients €200 an hour for sex with them at their Ennis home have escaped jail.
Spanish national, David Navaro (50) and his Brazilian born wife, Celia Galan (41) arrived into Ireland from Barcelona in 2015 and a surveillance operation by Gardai was mounted outside the couple's Ennis home in July 2016 as a result of Garda suspicions that there was a brothel being operated from their home.
According to Insp Tom Kennedy at Ennis District Court on July 23rd 2016, Gardai entered the home at Station View, Ennis and discovered a Laptop, phone, notebook with clients’ names and an Escort Ireland advert on the Laptop confirming that prostitution was being conducted at the property.
Insp Kennedy said that the two were advertising themselves to customers on the Escort Ireland website as ‘Anne & Peter’.
An advert placed by the two on Escort Ireland stated: ‘Ann is a woman of 30 years with a pretty face and Peter is a man of 38 years with a slender body and both are eager to please you’
The advert continued ‘We receive men, women and couples…You will enjoy the best experience of your life and and sure you will come back.”
Insp Kennedy said that the two worked as a couple all of the time with their clients and did not work individually.
He said: “This was a couple situation as opposed to a single situation.”
The inspector said that the two would charge clients €200 an hour for sex; €170 for 45 minutes and €130 for 30 minutes.
Call out rates worked out at €250 for the first hour of sex.
Insp Kennedy said that the couple told Gardai that they were making €1,200 a week from the activities at the house and €4,000 to €5,000 a month.
In reply to a question from Judge Patrick Durcan, Insp Kennedy said that the two were both managers and providers of the service at the home and that no other people were engaging in prostitution at the address.
Insp Kennedy said: “Their response to Gardai was that they didn’t think there was anything wrong with what they were doing and that it wasn’t illegal."
Solicitor for the two, Daragh Hassett said that his clients were conducting a ‘cottage industry’ at the address “and this is rampant in Spain and regularized there and not something that breaches the law there”.
Mr Hassett said that his clients weren’t aware of what they were doing was illegal here.
He said that if anything, the couple overly co-operated with the Gardai and “told the State things the State couldn’t have known into how this was operated”.
Mr Hassett said that the two “essentially gave the Gardai CPD (Continued Professional Development) in how these things operate”.
Mr Hassett said that when news broke that the two were charged "they were effectively ran out of the property and out of Ennis. They had to leave Clare and they are both living in the east of Ireland now”.
Mr Hassett said that the two are now working as general operatives in a factory each earning €400 a week.
In the case the couple pleaded guilty to knowingly living in whole or in part on the earnings of the prostitution of another person and aided and abetted that prostitution contrary to Section 10 of the Criminal Law Sex Offences Act at Station View, Ennis on July 23rd 2016.
Insp Kennedy said that prison terms up to six months and/or a fine can apply.
He said that both have no previous convictions. Judge Durcan said that he would fine each €600.