Prosecution of madam in brothel case
31st March 2011
On Friday 1st April, Hodge Jones & Allen client Hanna
Morris, a 29 year old mother of two small children, will appear at
Guildford Crown Court for sentencing. Hanna ran a small escort
agency in the Guildford area. Her operation was known to police and
appeared to be condoned.
Background to the case
In September 2009 two men broke into a flat where a woman
working for the agency was practicing. They spread petrol around
and threatened her. On finding this out, Hanna Morris immediately
dialled 999 and reported the attack. She cooperated with police
fully until, later in the day, she herself was arrested for brothel
She was subsequently prosecuted. The attackers have never been
There has been no suggestion that her agency was connected with
drugs, trafficking or organised crime. All of the women working for
the agency were fully consenting adults and there have never been
any complaints about the agency. Even the police described it as a
model of its kind.
'Abuse of process'
On her behalf we argued that the case should be dismissed as an
‘abuse of process’ (ie should never have come to trial because of
unfairness) as she had been led to believe that she would not be
prosecuted. This is a very difficult argument to run and we were
unsuccessful. Following this, Hanna had to plead guilty. She
returns to Guildford Crown Court on Friday 1 April for sentence.
Prison is a very real possibility.
Nigel Richardson, a partner in the criminal defence team at
Hodge Jones & Allen LLP and the lawyer representing Ms Morris
in this case comments:
“The case raises a number of interesting issues, including: the way
in which the police exercise their discretion to prosecute this
offence where there are clearly numerous brothels and massage
parlours openly operating; why they chose an agency which is
treating women well rather than one where women are abused; and
what is the message this sends to women in the sex industry who are
attacked and are thinking about reporting it to the police.”
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