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assets seizure Warrant issued for brothel keeper Martin Morgan over failure to pay €243,000

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Martin Morgan

Martin Morgan

Martin Morgan

The High Court has issued a warrant for the arrest of a convicted brothel keeper over his failure to pay some €243,000 to the State from profiting from his criminal activity.

Martin Morgan (55), who operated the brothel in a Dublin apartment and now has an address in Highbury Road, London, previously claimed he had spent the benefits of his criminal activity on business expenses.

He denied organising prostitution and running the brothel in the Bachelor's Walk flat between August and October 2005.

He was found guilty by a jury following a 19-day trial and jailed for three years in 2008.

Subsequently, the Circuit Criminal Court granted an order to confiscate some €252,000 in assets based on a calculation of what the net profit of the business was likely to have been during the offending period.

The figure was based on testimony from people working in the brothel about the number of shifts they did and their hourly rates.

Morgan appealed the confiscation order and the Court of Appeal (CoA) upheld the decision.

The CoA heard in 2018 the State at one stage alleged the brothel was generating millions of euro every year.

On Wednesday, the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) applied to Mr Justice Paul Coffey in the High Court to enforce the confiscation order.

The judge was told while the original confiscation order had been €252,583, that sum had been reduced by €9,000 in cash which had been seized by gardaí from Morgan and forfeited to the State.

CAB's counsel argued that Section 19.2 of the 1994 Criminal Justice Act provides for jail of up to three years for non-compliance with a confiscation order requiring a defendant to pay up to €250,000.

As Morgan was no longer in the jurisdiction, CAB believed the best approach was to first secure his attendance at court through an arrest warrant which could be used to extradite him.

He was aware of the application but had chosen not to attend court.

Counsel for Morgan said his client had filed an affidavit a year ago explaining his position and there had been no attempt to investigate what he said other than the State side saying it was not accepted.

The Morgan side also took issue with the process which was being used by the State to seek his attachment and committal to prison.

This can often be achieved by an order giving the State first call on his earnings or other sources of income (garnishee order), counsel said.

A bench warrant for someone's arrest was ordinarily used for failure to answer bail. Mr Morgan was not on bail and had been convicted, imprisoned and served his sentence, he said.

Mr Justice Coffey said he would accede to the application to issue a bench warrant to secure his attendance.

This was in circumstances where he was on notice of the application and where he was represented by legal advisors.

The State was entitled, on the face of it, to bring enforcement proceedings and it seemed to the judge the court should endeavour to secure his attendance before going further.

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