Wednesday, December 07, 2005

A man accused of running brothels in Belfast is a former SDLP council election candidate

Ciarán Barnes:

Dominic Marsella, from Chichester Avenue in the north of the city, appeared in Belfast Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with two counts of controlled prostitution and one of trafficking people.

The PSNI shut down suspected brothels he had allegedly been running at the Lucas Building on Ormeau Avenue and Margarita Plaza on Adelaide Street on September 24. A defence solicitor said all the charges would be contested.

The case was adjourned until January 9, with Mr Marsella released on continuing £1,000 bail. At a previous court appearance on October 17, a police officer said he could connect the accused to the charges.

In the 1997 local government elections, Mr Marsella stood unsuccessfully for the SDLP in the Castlereagh Central ward of Castlereagh borough council.

It was the first time the party fielded a candidate in the area, with the 57-year-old polling 224 votes.

After his failed election attempt he drifted away from politics to concentrate on teaching languages in different schools in the Belfast and south east Antrim areas.

A spokeswoman for the North Eastern Education and Library Board confirmed he had been an employee.

She said he had taught English as an additional language at schools in the board area until being made redundant on May 31. Mr Marsella refused to speak to the press as he left court with his solicitor.

A spokeswoman for the SDLP confirmed he had been a council candidate, but that his party membership had lapsed “years ago”.

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