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Monday 19 March 2018

Trio convicted in brothels case to be sentenced in weeks

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

THREE people, including a middle-aged couple, will be sentenced next month for operating brothels which featured carefully installed spy cameras and live-video links to a computer.

The sentencing will take place after mother-of-two Caroline O'Leary (39) was convicted before Cork Circuit Criminal Court last Friday with seven counts of brothel-keeping following a five-day trial.

O'Leary's partner, former chimney sweep Anthony 'Tony' Linnane (56), had pleaded guilty the previous month to brothel keeping at two premises at John Street and Grafton Street in Cork.

A third person -- Julieanne Gibson (41) -- pleaded guilty to five sample counts on the indictment last Monday.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain was initially told the case could last six weeks and involve more than 150 witnesses. The convictions followed a massive garda sweep dubbed Operation Boulder, a national crackdown on the illegal Irish sex industry.

The operation involved more than 150 gardai and continued for almost five years with the assistance of the Criminal Assets Bureau.

As part of Operation Boulder, the home of Caroline O'Leary and Tony Linnane was raided at Scartbarry, Watergrasshill, Co Cork, as well as two Cork city centre premises at John Street and Grafton Street.

The two premises were suspected by gardai of being operated as brothels.

Detectives found secret cameras hidden behind mirrors and in wall power sockets, and a computer found at the Scartbarry address was discovered to have a live video link to the spy cameras in the brothels.

A Brazilian prostitute was questioned by gardai as part of their investigation and they obtained a 'price list' for various services available at John Street and Grafton Street.

These ranged from €100 for a massage with hand relief to €200 for an hour of full sex and €250 for a special service called 'domination'.

O'Leary had denied a total of 69 charges of the alleged organisation of prostitution and the keeping of brothels.

However, following almost four hours of deliberation on Friday evening, the 12-man jury convicted O'Leary on seven counts of acting or aiding in the management of a brothel.

The convictions were by 11-1 or 10-2 majority verdicts and relate to periods between September 1 and November 30, 2006.

O'Leary was found not guilty on 43 counts and the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a further 19 counts.

Judge O Donnabhain ruled that O'Leary be remanded in custody for sentencing on May 12. She remained emotionless as the seven convictions were returned.

Tony Linnane had insisted to the trial that the mother of two knew absolutely nothing about the brothels, which he admits to operating,. and that he never discussed such matters with her or in front of her.

Linnane has already pleaded guilty to keeping brothels at John Street and Grafton Street in Cork and is now scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.

He is understood to own a substantial number of properties in Ireland as well as having properties in Europe and North America. A third individual will also be sentenced on May 12.

Julieanne Gibson (41), of Springvale, Old Youghal Road, Cork, pleaded guilty to five sample counts from the initial indictment of 69 charges before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

The five counts all involve brothel-keeping and relate to dates between January 23, 2006 and April 20, 2007.

The State also indicated that a nolle prosequi or 'no prosecution' was being entered in relation to another defendant, Robert Healy (49).

Mr Healy, of Mervue Lawn, Ballyvolane, Cork, had vehemently denied six charges of brothel-keeping and the organisation of prostitution.

Sunday Independent

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