Romanian couple accused of running south Belfast brothel granted bail
A couple accused of running a brothel which operated in south Belfast have been granted High Court bail.
Romanian nationals Florin Ghita, 32, and his partner Cristina-Teodora Musa, 23, were arrested as part of a police operation involving the National Crime Agency.
In April officers raided their home at Agincourt Avenue where three other women were allegedly involved in sex work.
Both of them are charged with brothel keeping at that address over a six-month period.
Musa is also accused of controlling the activities of three prostitutes for gain, while Ghita faces a further count of transferring criminal property - £1,000 in cash.
Prosecutors opposed their joint bid to be released from custody amid fears they could flee.
It was also alleged that Musa controlled the other women's activities by setting up a website they advertised on.
But defence barrister Sean Mullan argued his client only offered assistance because she spoke better English.
He told the court both accused travelled to Northern Ireland last year for work.
The pair are long-term partners and are planning to get married, according to counsel.
Mr Mullan added: "There's no dispute Ms Musa has been working as a prostitute in the full knowledge of her partner, Mr Ghita."
He stressed, however, that no admissions have been made to the alleged offences.
"Brothel keeping requires some form of management, and controlling prostitution requires a form of control over others," Mr Mullan said.
"The other three girls in the property have not made any statements."
Granting bail, Madam Justice McBride held that conditions could be imposed to deal with the risks of re-offending and flight.
She ordered the couple to provide a £1,500 cash surety, live under curfew at an address outside Belfast and report daily to police.
Ghita and Musa were also barred from accessing the internet except in a library or other public setting.
Belfast Telegraph Digital