Liberty Plaza brothel raid: Gina and others re-remanded

by Jayantha de Silva

Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday re-remanded, till January 18, the six women suspects including two foreigners of Eastern European origin, who were arrested from an alleged up-market brothel on the eight-storey the Liberty Plaza shopping complex in Kollupitiya. The Magistrate refused an application filed on behalf of the sixth suspect Rosemarie Perera ( Gina) by Attorneys-at-Law Kalinga Indatissa and Jayantha Weerasinghe. The Magistrate allowed an application filed by the Walana Anti–Vice Squad to obtain both incoming and outgoing telephone call details of the sixth suspect.

The Magistrate ordered the suspect to give a statement to the police from remand custody and ordered the latter to produce the statements in Court. The next non-summary proceedings were postponed for Jan. 18.

Attorneys-at-Law for the sixth suspect said that a petition had been submitted to the Human Rights Commission by the son of the sixth suspect Rosemarie Perera.

Police informed Court that some of the owners of the telephone numbers retrieved by police had refused to be identified.

However, police were trying to identify them, the Court was told.

The ownership of the condominium had changed hands to a Russian woman, the police revealed.

Two decoys had been employed by the police to conduct the raid, with one acting as a signalman for the 37-member raiding party. At the time of the raid there had been two other customers in the complex whose statements had been obtained.

The sixth suspect, along with some women had been privy to CCTV cameras installed in both lifts and stairways on three floors and had fled seeing the approaching police party.

Attorney-at-Law Kalinga Indatissa charged that the other five suspects had been forcibly held in custody by the police.

He filed an application requesting that the sixth respondent not be listed a suspect.

Magistrate: Police can make arrests without a warrant in certain instances. The five suspects had been arrested under the Section 2 of the Brothel Ordinance.

The defence submitted that the two police decoys had paid Rs. 5,000 for a woman and the other had procured a bottle of Bacardi for a sum of Rs. 5,000.

Refuting the police claim citing a video footage showing a woman barricading the doors from inside of what police claimed was a prison-like room with an iron bar, he accused the police of forcing open the doors with iron rods.

There had been previous police raids, but no convictions, the Court was told.

Police say that there were escape tunnels in the condominium. That complex was only a penthouse and there were no escape tunnels as in the ‘Ummagga Jathakaya’, the Defence counsel said.

The B report says that Rs, 380,000 had been recovered from the site by police. But only Rs, 340,000 had been produced, he said.

Police submitted that the lives of the police officers were exposed to risks in the raid.

The defence asked if the risk had meant being assaulted by women.

Furthermore, as police claim, the sixth suspect (60) should be an Olympic sprinter to escape from a 37-man raiding party covering all exists to the apartments.

Police had obtained her signature for a statement prepared by them while the sixth suspect was vomiting, the defence asserted.

Attorney-at-Law Sudharshani Gunaratne also appeared for the suspects.

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