A Letterkenny resident and his brother-in-law have been acquitted of human trafficking and exploitation charges in a Sligo court.

Sorin Cirpaci, 42, of Fortwell Court, Letterkenny (pictured above) and Augustin Covaci, 36, of Cartron, Sligo both denied trafficking a fellow Romanian national to work at a car wash on Pearse Road.

Following a three-day trial at Sligo Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford directed the jury to acquit the men following legal argument from defence counsel.

The men were accused of trafficking between 28 May 2015 and 9 September 2015 at the car wash on Pearse Road Sligo.  It was alleged that the men retained a man’s passport and deceived him regarding payment by failing to pay him as agreed or not at all.

RTE News reports that the alleged victim told Retired Detective Garda Michael Carr that Mr Covaci had his passport and he was not happy with the situation there.

Mr Carr said it emerged the man had reversed a car into an Audi which was there for valeting and after that his passport was taken from him and he was only given €4 a day.

The alleged victim came into Ireland around May 2015 and worked at a car wash in Letterkenny before being moved to Sligo.

A jury of 11 men and one woman returned a not guilty verdict for both Mr Covaci and Mr Cirpaci, as directed by Judge Comerford, who said legal points had been argued before him by defence counsel and directing an acquittal was “the appropriate action to take.”


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