A JUDGE HAS rejected a State application to confiscate the “hard earned” income of two sex workers which was stolen and later recovered.
Judge Patrick McCartan made the order at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court following the sentence hearing of a man who robbed the women while pretending to be a client.
The judge also praised the courage of the two women in attempting to stop the accused after the robbery.
Mantas Grazevicius (32) with an address in Manchester but originally from Lithuania pleaded not guilty to false imprisonment and robbery of the two women at the Clyde Court Hotel, Lansdowne Road, Dublin on 17 July 2013. He was convicted on all counts last month.
Judge McCartan jailed him for three years and backdated it to when Grazevicius went into custody in February 2015 after being returned to here from the UK on a European Arrest Warrant.
The court heard the two women had come from the Czech Republic to work for the weekend and had rented a room in the hotel. They had accumulated earnings of about €5,000 in cash which was hidden in the wardrobe.
Garda Alan Farrell told the court Grazevicius made an appointment with one of the women via the Viber messaging application and arranged to pay €220 for an hour.
At the agreed time a man arrived and entered the women’s hotel room. He then went back to the door and let in Grazevicius. The unnamed man then pushed one of the women and told them to sit on the bed while Grazevicius began searching the room for money.
One of the women said the money was in the hotel safe but Grazevicius said she was lying before finding the bag containing the cash. During the incident one of the women tried to escape but was pulled back by the unnamed man.
The two men left with the money but one of the women ran after them and grabbed Grazevicius and ripped his shirt. Grazevicius then gave her an envelope with “40 percent” written on it, telling her it was to keep her quiet.
The woman demanded all the money and Grazevicius replied: “I will cause you problems”. Hotel staff then intervened and Grazevicius was taken to a room until gardaí arrived. He had €2,675 on him. His accomplice escaped.
In interview he claimed the money was his and that he had come up from Cork that day to buy something and decided to get a massage from the women. He said that they must have decided to claim he had robbed them when they saw how much money he had.
The judge praised “these formidable young women who challenged these two bullies”. He said their “courage and determination” delayed Grazevicius long enough for gardaí to be alerted.
The judge called it a “nasty and mean” offence and noted that it must have been difficult for the women to make a complaint to gardaí because what they were doing was unlawful. He said they were “easy prey” for Grazevicius who just had to make an appointment to get access to their room.
Following sentencing, prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL asked that the €2,675 be forfeited to the state as the proceeds of prostitution.
“Is it open to me to direct the money be returned to the ladies?” Judge McCartan asked before saying that that is what he intended to do.
“It was hard earned,” he added.
Defence counsel Fiona Murphy BL asked the judge to be as lenient as possible. She submitted that Grazevicius’ previous convictions for theft and obstruction of police in the UK were minor.