Group accused of running brothel near courthouse

A number of people appeared at Tralee District Court yesterday on charges relating to running a brothel near the local courthouse.

A solicitor yesterday made an application seeking documents seized from the property in the town centre, the day after St Valentine’s Day.

Solicitor Pat Mann, representing four out of six people facing charges, is also seeking access to a surveillance video used by gardaí in what was described as an undercover operation.

The Ashe St property under surveillance was just a few hundred yards from the courthouse.

Four women and two men have been charged with keeping a brothel in Tralee. Two of the accused turned up to face the charges.

The accused, all Romanian nationals, were arrested on Feb 15 at a town centre apartment following an undercover operation. The Garda unit was allegedly investigating allegations of suspected prostitution and had been monitoring premises for several days.

It has been claimed the accused were arrested within the vicinity of a building and a number of documents were also removed from premises at Ashe St.

All six were taken to Garda stations in Tralee and Killarney and charged with keeping, managing, or assisting in the management of a brothel at 7 St John’s Court, Ashe St, and being party to the continuous use of the premises as a brothel.

Before the court yesterday was Mihaela Putan, aged 22. She has only been in the country for a month and cannot speak English, solicitor Mr Mann said. He acts for four of the accused.

He said Ms Putan had no assets. “She has no savings, no bank account, and is not receiving any welfare — she is destitute,” Mr Mann told the court.

He also appeared for Marian Busa, a male, aged 29. Mr Mann said Mr Busa was looking for video evidence or CCTV footage the gardaí had in relation to their surveillance on the premises prior to making arrests.

The solicitor said a number of documents were seized by gardaí from the apartment during the search and the accused man was seeking copies.

Mr Busa was described as being single and having lived in Tralee for eight months. He also had no assets, said Mr Mann.

Others who have been charged but were not present in court were Marius Buse, a male aged 23, along with three females, Corina Baltanu, aged 19; Cristina Branescu, aged 18; and Florentina Rotaru, aged 38.

Mr Mann applied for copies of all relevant documents in the case and Judge James O’Connor agreed to an adjournment until May when the case will be listed for mention only.

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