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Judge Patrick Durcan

Jail term for Ennis brothel keeper

A BRAZILIAN native who showed a “complete flagrant disregard” for the law, after admitting to charges of brothel-keeping in Ennis and Limerick, has been sentenced to a total of eight months in prison.

Aulicete Camargo Walsh of Breskabeg, Clarina, County Limerick appeared before Ennis District Court  charged with two counts of brothel-keeping and one of using a false instrument.

She was charged that being the tenant/lessee/occupier/person-in-charge of a premises at 18 Bank Square, Bindon Lane, she knowingly permitted it to be used as a brothel for the purpose of habitual prostitution on May 9, 2016.

She was also charged with using a Portuguese driving licence, which she knew to be a false instrument. The accused was also charged with running a brothel at 6 Crosley House, Dock Road, Limerick on May 27, 2016.

The court had previously heard that the 54-year-old grandmother was arrested on suspicion of brothel-keeping following a surveillance operation by gardaí.

Three Romanian women in their 20s were found to be operating as prostitutes from the Ennis apartment. When gardaí entered the apartment, they found a customer having sex with one of the women.

The women told gardaí that they had paid Camargo Walsh €600 to rent the apartment for one week to work as prostitutes. None of the girls were charged in relation to these matters.

Prior to sentencing, solicitor for the accused, Darragh Hassett, outlined that his client had experienced poverty at a young age in Brazil and had “no option but to turn to prostitution” in her home country.

He continued, “When she came to Ireland, she was committed not to get involved and she worked as a cleaner for some time. But when the country was not doing as well, people didn’t have the luxury of paying for her services and she was persuaded by a friend to get involved in prostitution”.

He stated that Camargo Walsh’s Irish husband has “remarkably stuck by her”, however he continued that he “spends way beyond his means and expects her to pick up the damage with the credit card”.

Judge Patrick Durcan asked how could he believe the assurances of Camargo Walsh when she had previously been convicted of brothel-keeping in 2012 in County Limerick and that she had been charged with running a brothel in Limerick less than three weeks after her arrest in Ennis.

Mr Hassett insisted, “The business has finished. It has taken a bit of time to bring it to an end but it is. It has stopped and it has stopped permanently”.

Judge Durcan commented that Camargo Walsh had shown a “complete, flagrant disregard” for the law in her actions. He said that with “all the untruths behind her activities, a sentence has to be meted out”.

He imposed a four-month prison sentence on the false driving licence charge and disqualified her from driving for two years. A four-month sentence on the brothel-keeping charge relating to May 9 was also imposed, to run concurrently, while a four-month sentence on the charge relating to May 27 was imposed to run consecutively with all of the charges.

Camargo Walsh was released on bail, pending a circuit court appeal.

Jessica Quinn

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