DPP v Edosa & Enoghaghase

JudgeBirmingham P.
Judgment Date20 February 2023
Neutral Citation[2023] IECA 38
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
Docket Number[188/21] [193/21] [191CJA/21] [192CJA/21]
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Alicia Edosa
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Edith Enoghaghase

[2023] IECA 38

The President

Edwards J.

McCarthy J.






Crime & sentencing – Human Trafficking – Prostitution – Money laundering – Appeals against sentence and conviction

Facts: The appellants had both been convicted counts of trafficking persons other than children, organisation of prostitution and money laundering. One appellant now sought to appeal the severity of her sentence, and the other sought to appeal her conviction. The DPP also sought to apply for review of the sentences, arguing they were unduly lenient.

Held by the Court, that the appeal would be allowed in part. Commenting generally, the Court stated that it believed the case to be the first case of an offence involving human trafficking contrary to the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008 coming before the Irish courts. Whilst the Court was aware of the lack of jurisprudence or guidance available to the trial judge, the sentences imposed were a substantial departure from what the Court itself considered appropriate. As such the appellants would be resentenced.

JUDGMENT of the Court delivered on the 20th day of February 2023 by Birmingham P.


. Following a trial at Mullingar Circuit Criminal Court which lasted 25 days, Ms. Alicia Edosa and Ms. Edith Enoghaghase were convicted of various offences. They were each convicted of two counts of trafficking of persons other than children contrary to s. 4(1) and (7) of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act 2008, (“the 2008 Act”) as well as one count of organisation of prostitution contrary to s. 9 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993. Ms. Edosa was convicted of 34 counts of money laundering contrary to s. 7 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, while Ms. Enoghaghase was convicted of four counts thereof. Ms. Edosa has appealed against conviction, Ms. Enoghaghase has appealed against severity of sentence, having withdrawn an appeal against conviction, while the Director has sought to review the sentences imposed in each case on grounds of undue leniency. In that regard, Ms. Edosa received an effective sentence of five years and eight months imprisonment, while Ms. Enoghaghase received one of five years and one month. Although there are, in effect, cross-appeals – the Director's applications to review, on the one hand, and on the other, the appeal against conviction from Ms. Edosa, and against severity of sentence from Ms. Enoghaghase – it is convenient to refer to Ms. Edosa and Ms. Enoghaghase as “the respondents”.


. Before turning to consider the specifics of the grounds of appeal and application, it may be helpful to provide some background to the trial. The respondents were convicted of trafficking four victims within the State, organising prostitution, and laundering the money to which those activities gave rise. Each of the victims was a native of Nigeria, and each had been targeted there as a potential victim for trafficking. Each was required to undergo a Voodoo ritual; the evidence was that the impact of these rituals was that, in accordance with the beliefs and customs of their society, those subject to them were convinced that they were obliged to obey all commands issued to them, and were to be under the control of certain individuals. Those trafficked were led to believe that if they disobeyed any command, they would suffer dire consequences.


. To elaborate somewhat of the facts of the case, the investigation was triggered on 16th May 2018, when complainants JE (born March 1996) and SI (born December 1995) presented themselves at Store Street Garda station and informed Gardaí that they had complaints to make in relation to being forced into prostitution. They indicated that they were originally from Benin City in Nigeria, but that they had only met when they came to Ireland. Subsequently, Gardaí became aware, through Interpol, that another complainant, PS (born December 1992), was also alleging that she had been induced into coming to Ireland and then forced into prostitution.


. There was a further development on 14th December 2018, when complainant PO (born September 1994) arrived at Dundalk Garda station. She reported that she had been offered a job as a nursing assistant in Ireland. She explained that her circumstances were difficult, that she had come from a poor background, had two children, and wanted to take the job in order to send money back to her children and her parents. She gave details of being in contact with a Nigerian woman called Alicia who knew a friend of her mother's. She explained that she had undergone a Voodoo-type ritual before leaving Nigeria, and when she came to Ireland, she, too, like the other complainants, had been forced into working as a prostitute. She was able to leave the situation with the help of an Irish male with whom she became friendly.


. In the case of JE, she had travelled from Nigeria to Ireland in the belief that she was going to get work in an Afro shop in Dublin. In 2015, she had been working as a water seller on the streets of her home city of Benin and she was put in touch with a woman called Alicia Edosa Amoseoden. She reported that Ms. Edosa was originally from Benin City, but at that point was living in Ireland. In the course of a telephone conversation, the complainant was told that there was a job available in Ireland working as a manager in an Afro shop and that she would be paid €2,000 per month. JE agreed to take the job and arrangements were put in place by the person she knew as Alicia for her to travel to Ireland. Prior to departing for Ireland, JE was required to take a trip to a Voodoo shrine or a Juju in Benin City where she was required to undertake an oath of loyalty to Ms. Edosa. The ritual involved the shaving of her body and the oath required her to commit not to seek to escape from Alicia or to speak to police about the matter.


. JE arrived in Dublin Airport in September 2016. She was met at the airport by a Nigerian man who brought her to a fast-food restaurant in the airport where she was first introduced to Ms. Edosa, and also to another woman, Ms. Enoghaghase, who was also known as Cynthia. JE was driven by Ms. Edosa and Ms. Enoghaghase to Mullingar where she was first taken to the home of Ms. Edosa. Over the following days, it became apparent that she was not going to be working in an Afro shop. She was told by Ms. Edosa that she was going to be required to work as a prostitute under the direction and control of Ms. Edosa.


. At trial, JE's evidence was that she never wanted to work as a prostitute but was forced to do so by Ms. Edosa under threats, fear of those threats, a Voodoo death curse and a warning of harm to her family in Nigeria. In addition, she was told that she would be required to pay Ms. Edosa the sum of €35,000 for the cost of bringing her to Ireland. In evidence, JE outlined in some detail her work over a two-year period in forced prostitution working under the direction and control of Ms. Edosa. The sex work initially began in Ms. Edosa's home apartment and then at another apartment controlled by Ms. Edosa at another location in Mullingar. In time, her work expanded, and she was forced to work in cities and towns across Ireland. She was directed by Ms. Edosa as to the locations to which she was to travel, and all money generated from her work had to be lodged into a bank account provided to her by Ms. Edosa. On 14th May 2018, she was directed to travel to Carrick-on-Shannon for the purpose of providing sexual services to clients. On that occasion, there was contact between herself and SI. Thereafter, both travelled to Dublin and made their way to Store Street Garda station.


. So far as complainant SI is concerned, in September 2017, she was working selling top-up credit from a kiosk in Benin City, and was approached by a woman who told her she was very beautiful, and she was asked whether she would like to go to Ireland and work in sales in an Afro clothes shop. SI accepted the offer. A few days later, the woman instructed SI to go to an immigration office in Benin City. She was provided with a false name and would later receive a false Nigerian passport. A few days after the initial contact, a woman called Cynthia phoned and told her that when she came to Ireland, she would be working for her and would be paid €2,000 a month. She, too, was instructed to attend a Voodoo shrine or Juju, and there take an oath that she would not steal from Cynthia and that she would not tell the police anything about Cynthia, and she was told that if she broke that oath, “her mother would go to hell and she would roam mad”. She travelled to Ireland through Istanbul, Greece, France and Italy. On 4th November 2017, she arrived in Dublin Airport, was met by “Cynthia” and her husband, and driven to an address at Meeting House Lane in Mullingar.


. At trial, the evidence was that the woman known to the complainant as Cynthia was Ms. Enoghaghase. Over the following days, it became apparent to SI that she was not going to be working in an Afro shop, and she was told that she was going to work as a prostitute under the direction and control of Ms. Enoghaghase. Again, SI made clear that she never wanted to work as a prostitute but was forced to do so by Ms. Enoghaghase through fear, by reason of threats, by reason of the Voodoo curse and the warning and threat of harm to her family back in Nigeria. She was told that she would be required to pay €60,000 in respect of the costs of bringing her to Ireland. SI explained that her work as a prostitute under the control of Ms....

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