Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Sonya McLean

A human trafficking and prostitution trial has collapsed “due to unforeseen circumstances” but is expected to begin again before a new jury later this month.

Wednesday marked the 10th day of the trial of Natalia Nogueira Da Silva and Ivanilce (Lisa) Vailones Fidelis at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The trial opened two weeks ago and had been due to run for six weeks.

In opening the trial, the jury were told the State alleges the accused women trafficked two vulnerable Brazilian women for the purposes of exploiting them and taking advantage of their vulnerability “to such an extent as to cause the trafficked person to have no real or acceptable alternative but to submit to being trafficked”.

Judge Patricia Ryan told the panel on Wednesday that “due to unforeseen circumstances this case cannot proceed before yourselves and I am now going to discharge you”.

“You are free to go,” the judge added,

She told the jurors that she understood they would like to see the trial “to its conclusion” but said it will go ahead before another jury shortly. She advised them not to discuss the trial with anyone “to ensure a fair trial” before the next jury.

Judge Ryan thanked the jurors for their service and the attention they had given the trial.

Ms Vailones Fidelis (46), of Castle Manor, Racecourse Road, Roscommon, has denied all 18 charges against her, including two counts of human trafficking, one count of organising prostitution and money laundering charges on dates between 2015 and 2020.

Ms Da Silva (32), of Cairn Hill View, Drumlish, Co Longford, has admitted 35 charges, including organising prostitution, facilitating the entry into the state of an illegal person and money laundering. She has denied a single charge of human trafficking in 2019.

Ms Da Silva has pleaded not guilty to one count of human trafficking a woman at an unknown location within the State, on dates between March 31st, 2019, and May 18th, 2019.

She has pleaded guilty in front of the jury to one count of organising prostitution at an unknown location within the State on dates between December 5th, 2018, and May 18th, 2019.

She has also admitted one count of facilitating the entry into the State of a person she knew to be illegal on March 31st, 2019, at Dublin Airport, along with 33 counts of money laundering the proceeds of crime on dates between March 2020 and May 2021.

The case was adjourned to Friday when it is expected it will be given a new trial date.

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