England: Brothel-keeping case collapses after officer cites medical grounds – in secret

The prosecution of three women on brothel-keeping charges collapsed after the chief investigating officer refused to give evidence on medical grounds that were discussed in secret, The Guardian reports.

Manchester Crown Court heard that the charges will lie on file.

The three defendants - Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr - were charged under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 after their place of work was raided by Manchester police in 2011.

The court heard that DC Philip Anderson, who brought the case, would not be able to give evidence due to his declining health.

The exact details of his condition were only discussed in secret, but the court was told that two detective chief inspectors had approved Mr Anderson’s decision not to give evidence.

If proceeded to trial, the case would have been the first in the UK in which sex workers intended to use the Human Rights Act to defend their right to work together for their own safety.

Niki Adams of the English Collective of Prostitutes told The Guardian: “This has been an astounding miscarriage of justice and a terrible waste of resources. These women are just trying to earn a living and want to do it in the safest way possible.

“It was an outrage that the police even sought to bring this prosecution in the first place and the fact that it has collapsed shows how badly this case has been managed from the start.”

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