Judge calls for regulation of ‘gentlemen's clubs’

Judge Edwina Grima said the time had come for such clubs to be regulated by ad hoc legislation that establishes what type of activity is legally permissible within them

Judge Edwina Grima called for the introduction of ad hoc legislation to establish what is legally permissible inside such establishments (File Photo)
Judge Edwina Grima called for the introduction of ad hoc legislation to establish what is legally permissible inside such establishments (File Photo)

A judge has called for the regulation of so-called “gentlemen’s clubs” through specifically targeted legislation.

This emerged as the Court of Criminal Appeal partially revoked the acquittal of Raymond Micallef and Vincent Micallef, confirming the acquittal on the charge of running a brothel but overturning it with regards to employment law violations.

Judge Edwina Grima said the time had come for such clubs to be regulated by ad hoc legislation, as part of a framework that establishes what activity inside these premises is legally permissible and what is not.

The judge also insisted that girls working in this industry should be protected from exploitation, and that society at large would also benefit from a clear definition of who may frequent such establishments, in order to protect minors and vulnerable people.

The two men had been acquitted of all charges in 2012, but the judgment had been the subject of an appeal by the Attorney General.

The court had heard how a police raid on a bar called Huggins in Paceville had found several scantily-clad Romanian girls performing pole dances and lap dances, which had led to the charges, but noted that the police had not summoned any of the girls or patrons to testify.

Judge Grima noted that a number of gentlemen’s clubs had mushroomed in the Paceville area and had so far escaped direct legislation regulating their ownership and the acts performed inside them.

Whilst confirming the acquittal on the charges of running a brothel, the court overturned the first court’s decision on employment irregularities, finding the men guilty and fining them €1500 each.

Franco Debono and Marion Camilleri were defence counsel.

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