Letterkenny businessman found not guilty of human trafficking

first_img WhatsApp RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Twitter Twitter Homepage BannerNews WhatsApp Loganair’s new Derry – Liverpool air service takes off from CODA Google+ Publicans in Republic watching closely as North reopens further A Letterkenny businessman man has been found not guilty on a charge of human trafficking at Sligo Circuit Court.40-year-old Sorin Kirpcai, Fortwell Court, Letterkenny, was one of two Romanian men charged with trafficking another Romanian man for exploitation to work in a car wash in Sligo town.His trial ended after the trial judge Francis Comerford directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty following legal argument.Kirpaci who had been running a car wash in Letterkenny for several years, after coming to Ireland first in 1999, had denied a charge of coercing the man into working at the car wash on Pearse Road, Sligo on a date unknown between May 28 2015 and September 9 2015.35-year-old Augustin Covaci with an address in Cartron, Sligo, also denied a charge of coercing the man into working at the car wash on Pearse Road, Sligo on a date unknown between May 28 2015 and September 9 2015.The two men were found not guilty.It was alleged that the accused men, who are brothers-in-law, retained the man’s passport and deceived him regarding payment by failing to pay him as agreed or not at all.The case was the first prosecution under updated human trafficking legislation which increases the maximum penalty on conviction from 14 years to life imprisonment.The court heard the alleged victim, who can’t be named for legal reasons, had served lengthy prison sentences for serious offences when he claimed he was working in Romania.He had damaged a car while working at the car wash where he alleged his passport had been taken until he would pay back the cost of the damages, the court heard.Retired Detective Garda Michael Carr Sligo Circuit Court on the first day of the hearing, that he organised a search of the car wash premises after receiving information that there was a victim of human trafficking there.He brought the National Employment Rights Authority on board and when they visited the site, they found five men working there.Mr Carr said the alleged victim in this case told him that Mr Covaci had his passport and he was not happy with the situation there.He said it emerged the man had reversed a car into an Audi which was there for valeting and after that his passport was taken from him and he was only given €4 a day.When he left the premises with gardaí, Mr Carr said the man had a small bag with a loaf of bread and a tin of beans in it, and said he was only getting €4 every evening to feed himself with.Speaking through an interpreter, the alleged victim said he came to Ireland in May 2015 to make a better life for his family.He believed he was going to be paid €500 monthly but never saw that money, he only got a small amount and sent it home.The alleged victim said he had worked previously in a car wash in England and at other jobs in Romania.However, Colm Smyth, counsel for Mr Cirpaci, disputed his claims and said that according to records obtained by gardaí, he had been serving lengthy prison terms for serious offences when he claimed to be working in Romania.The man confirmed he had served sentences but asked about the dates concerned, he said he did not have a good memory.The alleged victim said he was told he had to work for free for four months to pay for the damage he had caused to a car he had “bumped” and that his passport was taken from him.Mr Smyth put it to him that he was free to leave Mr Cirpaci’s employment and go back to Romania prior to the damage being done to the car, but the man said that he did not have the money to leave,Detective Carr agreed under cross examination from Mr Smyth for Mr Kirpaci that damage had been caused to an Audi 4 at the car wash and compensation had been paid.Sorin Kirpaci, who had been running a car wash in Letterkenny for several years, told gardai on the second day, that he left the running of the Sligo car wash to his brother-in-law, Augustin Covaci.He denied giving the authority to Covaci to take the passport from the alleged victim.The court was told he had no major criminal convictions apart from a few minor road traffic offences.Counsel for Augustin Covaci Eileen O’Leary SC said her client was a hard- working family man who had no previous convictions.He did not have to answer any of the gardai’s questions but he did so willingly.center_img Pinterest By News Highland – November 15, 2018 Previous articleFinn Footbridge to open on MondayNext articleNI Dept request decision to proceed with A5 be quashed News Highland Community Enhancement Programme open for applications Nine til Noon Show – Listen back to Monday’s Programme Pinterest Letterkenny businessman found not guilty of human trafficking Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population 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