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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Traveller regrets exploiting vulnerable workers, court told

Rod Minchin Bristol

Published 19/12/2012 | 05:00

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A TRAVELLER family who led a luxurious lifestyle at the expense of vulnerable men they forced to work for a pittance have had to wait another 24 hours to be sentenced.

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A judge at Bristol Crown Court yesterday said he would pass sentence on William Connors ( 52) his wife Mar (48) their sons John ( 29) and James ( 20) and their son-in-law Miles Connors, (24) today. They have been remanded in custody.

The Connors family were unanimously convicted on Friday of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced or compulsory labour between April 2010 and March last year. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Judge Michael Longman heard mitigation on behalf of the five defendants but then adjourned passing sentence.

Michael Borrelli QC, representing William Connors, said his client had ''recognised at last that part of what he had been doing was unforgivable – the fact that so little money was being given to those workers.

"His naive justification was that many of the workers were addicted to alcohol and if they were given large sums of money they would be unable to work.

"Some of the workers have accepted they were better off being able to work than being left to their own devices."

Mr Borrelli added: "You have before you a chastened and wiser man – too late in the day.

"The fact he has acknowledged late in the day – that it was unforgivable – is a step in the right direction.''

Irish Independent

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