SashaB

Sheila Farmer @ Croydon Crown Court: Tuesday 3rd Jan!

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Just a reminder that Sheila Farmer is to stand trial on Tuesday 3rd January at Croydon Crown Court. All supporters welcome!!!

Stop thisprosecution. Safety must be the priority.

Ms Sheila Farmer is facing trial forbrothel-keeping on 3 January 2012.

Please come along to support.

10am, Croydon Crown Court

The Law Courts, Altyre Road

Croydon, Surrey CR9 5AB

For more info call 020 7482 2496/07811 964171

Ms Sheila Farmer has been adiabetic since childhood and is seriously ill with a malignant braintumour. Yet she has been charged with managing a brothel and is facingan onerous trial and criminal record.

Ms Farmer used to work on herown but after only six months she was viciously attacked by a man whoraped her repeatedly, tried to strangle her and kept her tied up forhours. He was deported after an Old Bailey trial. Fearful of anotherattack, Ms Farmer vowed never to work alone. She has worked with friendsfor the past 17 years.

Ms Farmer says ‘Ibelieve strongly that women working as we were should be left alone. Thelaws are antiquated. I was earning money to pay for my cancer treatment.This moral crusade is making criminals out of women like me.’

Ms Farmer’s flat was raided bythe police in August 2010. Following complaints by some neighbours,police officers visited and saw there was no force or coercion. To makethings easier Ms Farmer agreed to move. Yet while she was in the processof moving she was arrested. Her insulin was taken from her and she wasonly released from police custody after a doctor said that her healthwould be in serious danger if she were to be held any longer.

Ms Farmer has never coercedanyone into work. On the contrary, she has taken great care to protectwomen from attack. At personal risk, despite threats and retribution,she appeared as a witness in court to ensure the conviction of an armedgang that had attacked hundreds of working women in the south ofEngland.

Ms Farmer is a mother trying tosurvive in harsh economic times. She only went into sex work becausediabetes caused her to lose too much of her vision to keep her job as anIT consultant. Ms Farmer is struggling to survive two serious healthconditions. Her consultant has written to the court: “Iam afraid the future is uncertain and one can almost guarantee that thetumour will grow and progress in the relatively near future. Ifpossible it would be medically justifiable to try and avoid any stressassociated with any prolonged Court hearing.”

Not only does Ms Farmer face a prolongedtrial, she facesup to seven years in prison. Why is this prosecution being brought?

The CPS should followtheir own guidelines whenprosecuting:

· To prevent people leading or forcing others into prostitution. ButMs Farmer was working with others consensually andindependently. There was no force, coercion, violence ortrafficking.

· The age of the prostitute and the position of those living off theearnings will clearly be relevant. Allwere adults who knew their own minds.

· To penalise those who organise prostitutes and make a living fromtheir earnings. Like millionsof others, Ms Farmer ran a small private business, not a bigexploitative company. She is now having to rely on Statebenefits to survive.

· Generally,the more serious the incident the more likely that a prosecutionwill be required. The policeestablished that no serious crime was taking place at thepremises.

The laws which forcesex workers to work in isolation and make us more vulnerable toattack must be abolished. For safety’s sake, decriminalize.

Edited by SashaB

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See you there, I've made a space in my diary . . .

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for those unable to attend, would it be a good idea to write again to cps to complain this prosecution?

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Shiela Farmers case has now been adjourned until tomorrow morning as an "administrative error" meant the prosecution forgot to not only warn but to notify thier witnesses they were due to start trial today.... seriously you couldnt make this stuff up. It will be interesting to see who the prosecution can get to court with less than 24 hours notice?!?

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Shiela Farmers case has now been adjourned until tomorrow morning .....

According to the Listing its Court 2 at 10.30 am.

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Good luck to everyone. it boils my piss.

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The CPS are a total set of bastards. They insisted on continuing a prosecution against my brother even though he had a cancer with a very minimal chance of survival and only dropped it when the consultant said he only had weeks left. When you have a serious disease you really don't want the worry of being prosecuted. Where is the public interest in prosecuting this woman? (that is one of the prosecutor's guidlines for deciding to press charges).

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Fantastic News!!!! I didnt want to say too much yesterday for fear of jinxing things.

Cut a long story short the ineptitude of the police is outstanding. It turns out the police built thier entire case on the basis that the girl arrested when the property was raided had made a statement saying that the property was a brothel! This statement was taken following the girls arrest in September 2010. The girl was released without charge as there was no evidence she was anything other than a WG although I expect the police pressured her into making a statement in order to obtain her release.

The girl did not want to be identified and as such she was asigned the sudinim Ruby X in order to give evidence at court. When I said that the crown had forgotten to notify any of thier witnesses that the trial was to start on January 3rd they also failed to notify Ruby X. On the list of witnesses Ruby X's contact details were listed as the officer who took her statement. The officer named insisted that Ruby X's genuine contact details had been given to the officer in charge of the case although the officer in charge of the case denied having ever received them. The judge gave the crown until 10am this morning to not only find Ruby X but to secure her attendance to court this morning. It now appears that the police did find Ruby X's contact information but that this information is now invalid and that the police had had NO correspondence with Ruby X since her statement in September 2010!!!

Without Ruby X's statement the crown had to admit they had no evidence that the property was being run as a brothel and as a result had to submit no evidence against Shiela and as such the judge dounf that with no evidence a Not Guilty verdict had to be entered.

RESULT !!!

It honestly beggars belief that they could put Shiela through 16 months of heartache and 8 court appearances before finally dropping the case on the day of the trial because they had failed to secure thier key witness. Fan Bloody Tastic !!!

God only knows how much the case cost and what was even more amusing is that Shiela's maid was also being prosecuted and was awarded travel costs for her inconvienience getting to and from court. In fairness she only applied for £30 and got it but the fact they had to award her £30 costs in itself was fab!

The sad news is that Shiela has subsequently been arrested again (a couple of months back) and is now awaiting a trial at Guildford Crown Court for a second offence. She will be fighting these charges along with the ECP and now has a renewed spirit going forward. The case management hearing for this case is latter this month with a trial expected in March or April

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very good news,lets hope things go well for shiela

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Cut a long story short the ineptitude of the police is outstanding.

No surprises there.

Still it makes a change from the police blaming the CPS (or as they call them the Criminal Protection Service).

I'm really surprised that the only substantive evidence that the prosecution had was that of one of the girls. The prosecution don't normally like to rely on evidence given by the girls because it can often be discredited, just the same as they don't like using punters/customers as witnesses.

The evidence from test purchase officers together with surveillance evidence and the usual brothel paraphernalia (such as cash, condoms, whips, lingerie, lubricants, accounts, adverts etc) will usually suffice, and you don't have to worry about whether a witness (and a potentially hostile one at that) will turn up at court.

I hope that Sheila is equally as lucky at Guildford Crown Court.

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Surely there must be a case here for abuse of process, wrongful arrest and/or police harassment???

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The evidence from test purchase officers together with surveillance evidence and the usual brothel paraphernalia (such as cash, condoms, whips, lingerie, lubricants, accounts, adverts etc) will usually suffice, and you don't have to worry about whether a witness (and a potentially hostile one at that) will turn up at court.

John Blandford was representing Shiela's maid and from what he was saying they are no longer using test purchases as there is too much risk of police corruption becoming entwined with the case. Whether thats true or not remains to be seen but you can at least see the logic. General consensus was also that surveillance for brothels was no longer used unless it was a large scale operation as it cost too much. Different when looking to bust a string of drug dealers as an example but excessive when looking to prosecute a brothel. It "appears" that they are now relying on the presence of two women at the time of the raid and of course the presence of money in order to at least part fund thier investigation, lazy isnt the word but sadly imo it about sums up our police force these days... easy pickings and only if its worth their while. Why they went for Shiela in the first place is beyond understanding but it looks now like they were hoping she would plead early and didnt want to be seen to drop the case once they had made the decision to prosecute?!?

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The ineptitude of the police, especially the Met, never ceases to amaze me. I knew they were corrupt when I was a young man living in London. Nothing in the last 35 years has convinced me to think otherwise.

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John Blandford was representing Shiela's maid and from what he was saying they are no longer using test purchases as there is too much risk of police corruption becoming entwined with the case.

It's a sad state of affairs when Surrey Police can't trust their own officers not to be corrupt or to take the risk that their officers will not be believed in court.

Having said that, it's true to say that juries are becoming less trusting of police evidence. Ironic really when I'd be prepared to put money on the fact that there's less police corruption now than there was in the 60's and 70's.

I'm not surprised about the surveillance though. It is very draining on resources.

The real danger with cut-price policing of this nature is that the police tend to put pressure on the girls working at the premises and also customers to provide statements and give evidence. Neither are doing anything illegal but will have good reason not to want to get involved. It's a worrying trend.

Still, what do you expect.... we are talking about Surrey Police.

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Hurrah! What a good show! Fingers crossed for her next adventure.

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I particularly liked the comment by fry10d

I have long thought that two journalists, politicians or lawyers working together should be made illegal.

Let them ply their filthy trades on their own.

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Still, what do you expect.... we are talking about Surrey Police.

I stand to be corrected but I think her first case was the Met. Her Guildford case is obviously Surrey Police.

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The judge gave the crown until 10am this morning to not only find Ruby X but to secure her attendance to court this morning. It now appears that the police did find Ruby X's contact information but that this information is now invalid and that the police had had NO correspondence with Ruby X since her statement in September 2010!!!

Without Ruby X's statement the crown had to admit they had no evidence that the property was being run as a brothel and as a result had to submit no evidence against Shiela and as such the judge dounf that with no evidence a Not Guilty verdict had to be entered.

This case amply goes to show how difficult it is going to be for the prosecution to secure a conviction for the new section 53A offence, especially if the coerced girl is foreign and with no ties to the region ( or has been deported).

The whole offence was doomed to failure.

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This case amply goes to show how difficult it is going to be for the prosecution to secure a conviction for the new section 53A offence, especially if the coerced girl is foreign and with no ties to the region ( or has been deported).

The whole offence was doomed to failure.

Which is why I'm very dubious still over the claim that 40+ men HAVE been into a magistrates' court and convicted. Without any individual publicity. When that was the entire POINT of the offence - to name and shame and reduce demand.

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