Two face trial over human trafficking in Northern Ireland
A man and woman from Slovakia are to stand trial in Belfast later this year on a charge of people trafficking, a court heard yesterday.
Tibor Kozlik and Bozena Stojkova - who are both 48 and who appeared at Belfast Crown Court using walking aids - each denied the offence.
The two accused have both been charged with arranging or facilitating the arrival into the UK of a woman, intending to exploit her or believing that another was likely to exploit her, on September 10, 2009.
The charge was brought under the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004.
Via a translator, when the charge was put to Kozlik, from Seaview Street in Belfast, he replied "No. Not guilty".
When the same charge was put to Stojkova, from Clanchattan Street in the city, she too replied "No. Not guilty".
Kozlik was also charged with - and denies - stealing £1,100 from the same woman on September 24, 2009, sexually assaulting her on May 29, 2014, and blackmailing her on two separate occasions between December 2009 and May 2014.
In addition, Kozlik has been charged with fraud by false representation, namely that on November 16, 2009, he claimed he was the partner of the same woman, and was entitled to apply for housing benefit for a property at Midland Crescent, when in fact he was not resident at that address and therefore not entitled to the benefit claimed.
When this charge was put to Kozlik, he again replied "not guilty". He also denied a charge of intimidating a man "by force, threats or menace" to leave his place of residence between May 29 and June 10, 2014.
Stojkova and a third Slovakian national - Svetlana Fatonova (31) from Fort Street in Belfast - were each charged with stealing wages and child tax credits from the same woman, to the value of £3,150.75, between November 25 and December 30, 2009.
Both women denied the theft charge.
After all three defendants entered "not guilty" pleas to all the charges levelled against them, Judge David McFarland confirmed that a two-week trial will take place beginning November 5, 2018.
The three accused were then released on continuing bail ahead of their trial.