Client of Anna Morris interviewed on Radio 4 about violence against sex worker case

Tuesday 12 April 2011

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A client of Anna Morris has been interviewed on Radio 4's Women's Hour about the problems faced by sex workers who experience violence in the course of their work.

The case of Hannah Morris raises concerns about the safety of prostitutes who chose to work in managed premises. Hannah, a former working girl herself, was prosecuted for running a brothel when she called the police to her premises when two men forced their way into the flat and threatened the girl working there. Hannah volunteered to assist the police with their investigation and always accepted that she ran an agency from the premises. She was then prosecuted when the police used the information that she provided them with against her.

Anna Morris, acting for Hannah argued that the prosecution was an abuse of process, an argument which was ultimately unsuccessful. However, in passing a suspended sentence, HHJ Matthews QC stated that it was a "unique case" in which it was clear that there was a "consistent picture of someone who had set up a commercial organisation but with care for employees which would be commendable if the business was legitimate". The case highlights the difficulties the Police face in protecting sex workers from the increased risk they face of violent offences and the inconsistent policy for the prosecution for offences of brothel keeping.

The interview highlights issues of social as well as legal concern. If you have 15 minutes, it is well worth listening to on the BBC's website.

The case has also been reported on the Get Surrey website.

Anna Morris is a barrister and a member of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team.

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