AddThis SmartLayers

Brothel owner exposed by Sunday newspaper gets suspended sentence

An accountant turned brothel-owner who was exposed when he tried to recruit an undercover reporter as a call girl has been fined £2,000 and given a six-month suspended jal sentence.

Paul Ervine was secretly recorded by former Sunday Life journalist Patricia Devlin speaking of the thousands of pounds she could make as a prostitute.

It led to a front page expose by the Belfast-based title and a police investigation into Ervine’s activities.

The 62-year-old, from Ballymacash Park in Lisburn, pleaded guilty to a total of seven charges, including controlling a prostitute and having more than £3,000 in criminal property.

Ervine, who also admitted a charge of inciting a woman to became a prostitute, was sentenced and fined £2,000 at Antrim Crown Court yesterday.

The former tax advisor was involved in the management of brothels in Belfast’s Kitchener Street, Connsbrook Avenue and University Court between January and December 2014.

Patricia, now working at the Daily Star in Dublin, said afterwards:  “Today’s court case involving Paul Ervine is a great success for newspaper journalism and shows the power investigative pieces like this hold.

“There is no doubt that had it not been for Sunday Life Paul Ervine would still be running brothels across Belfast, making thousands-of-pounds a week in untaxed cash and putting some very vulnerable women at risk.

“My only disappointment is the sentence handed to Ervine after the extensive and dangerous work put in by both myself, and then the police.

“The judge seemed to take some leniency on the fact the women working for Ervine were not – thankfully – trafficked. However some, who I have spoken to personally, said they were regularly degraded and humiliated by Ervine.”

The judge said that the appropriate sentence under current guidelines was one of six to 12 months, but that given Ervine’s guilty pleas, cooperation with police and his previous record, he could suspend any custodial sentence.

He added that there was nothing to suggest that Ervine posed a danger to the community, and that he was assessed as being at a low risk of reoffending.


You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.