Three men who deny alleged modern day slavery crimes which are said to centre on a Carlisle car wash will not give evidence from the witness box during their trial, jurors have been told.
Defrim Paci, 42, is accused of operating at the head of a conspiracy which the prosecution say comprised “forced labour and arranging for people to come to the UK with a view to their being exploited” during 2016 and 2017.
Paci is in the dock with his 37-year-old brother, Jetmir, and Sitar Ali, 33, manager of the Shiny car wash in Warwick Road, both of whom also stand accused of illegal involvement.
The three men each deny two modern slavery charges while Ali further denies the alleged possession of criminal cash.
So far in the trial, which is in its fourth week, the jury has heard a wealth of evidence.
This includes accounts from car wash workers who allege they were compelled to work long hours for low pay and without proper breaks; were burned by chemicals and not given protective clothing; and housed in dirty accommodation having paid to be transported to the UK from their home country of Romania.
As the case reached the final stages of the prosecution case today, Judge Nicholas Barker addressed barristers representing the Paci brothers and Ali.
Each confirmed they would not be calling evidence on their behalf.
Judge Barker asked each of the barristers: “Have you advised your client that the stage has now been reached at which he may give evidence, and that if he chooses not to do so the jury may draw such inferences as appear proper from his failure to do so?”
All confirmed that they had been so advised.
Jurors also learned that — once the prosecution have formally closing their case — they will hear legal directions and a summary of the evidence from the judge and closing speeches by barristers, before retiring to start their deliberations.
They are set to retire either towards the end of this week or the beginning of the next.
Both Defrim Paci, Windmill Close, Sutton-in-Ashfield, and Jetmir Paci, of Minimum Terrace, Chesterfield, are said to deny being involved in management of the car wash, while Ali, of Adelaide Street, Carlisle, similarly denies any wrongdoing.