Court rules pole dancing, lap dancing not immoral acts

Two men acquitted of running a brothel and of using Qawra gentleman’s club for prostitution.

Two men have been cleared of running a brothel at a gentleman’s club in Qawra after the court ruled that lap dancing and pole dancing are not immoral acts.

John Bartolo, 57, of Mosta, and Conrad Bonett, 40, of St Paul’s Bay, were also cleared of managing an outlet for prostitution services, of running a brothel, of employing unlicensed workers, and of committing immoral acts.

Magistrate Marseann Farrugia acquitted the men of all charges after the prosecution admitted that they found no evidence linking the club to prostitution but had only discovered skimpily dressed women.

The case dates back to 2006, when the police raided AO Gentleman’s Club in Qawra. Inside, police found a woman pole dancing on the club’s platform and also found three skimpily-dressed women inside of the club.

One was found inside the dressing room wearing underwear and a bra, the other was dancing in a bikini, while another woman was speaking to a client on a sofa wearing just bikini and see-through top.

The court heard that the women, who are all foreign, used to live above the club, and were paid by the accused for their services, thereby clearing the accused of holding the women against their will.

Police Superintendent Neville Aquilina told the court that the police arraigned the men because of pole dancing activities on the premises and because the women were indecently dressed.

In her decision, Magistrate Marseann Farrugia argued that lap dancing and pole dancing are not immoral acts.

“In the court’s opinion, such an activity is not immoral, it is only a playful action which will lead to nothing,” the magistrate ruled.

Moreover, the court also held that that the prosecution had admitted in court that they found no evidence that could link the club to prostitution or a brothel.

Taking this into account, Magistrate Farrugia cleared the men of all charges.

Police Inspector Louise Calleja prosecuted while Lawyer Edward Gatt appeared for the men.