The Malta Independent 5 March 2024, Tuesday
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Hungarian couple jailed after admitting to human trafficking

Friday, 1 December 2023, 12:04 Last update: about 4 months ago

A Hungarian couple has been jailed after pleading guilty as part of a plea deal in connection with their involvement in a prostitution ring.

Robert Attila Majlat, 42, and Attilane Majlat, 37, had been prosecuted after the Maltese police were tipped off by the British authorities about suspicions that they were involved in trafficking women into the sex trade.

The couple had been found guilty by the Court of Magistrates in 2019 and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The conviction was overturned on appeal a year later and sent back to the Court of Magistrates because the lower court had not allowed the couple’s defence lawyer to cross-examine the women who claimed to have been trafficked.

The couple was then convicted once more by the Court Magistrate and both were sentenced to 9 years in year.

But a second appeal was filed by the couple and was once again successful.  

In February, Mr Justice Aaron Bugeja quashed the couple’s prison term again, declaring the conviction to be null because the Attorney General should not have chosen to have the case tried by the Magistrates' Court but by the superior courts.

During the reopened compilation of evidence before Magistrate Elaine Mercieca, the couple admitted the charges as part of a plea deal reached with the Attorney General. The case was then sent to the Criminal Court for sentencing.

When the sentencing hearing was called this morning, Madam Justice Edwina Grima, presiding the Criminal Court, asked the two defendants whether they were aware of the legal consequences of their guilty plea. They confirmed that they were and affirmed their admission of guilt.

The court declared the defendants guilty of the charges against them. Robert Attila Majlat was sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years, and to the payment of a €10,000 fine. Attilane Majlat was jailed for 9 years and ordered to pay a €7,000 fine.

Lawyer Etienne Savona prosecuted on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

Lawyers Noel Bianco, Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin were defence counsel. Lawyer Lara Dimitrijevic appeared for the victims as parte civile.

 

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