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Larger text size Very large text size Staff at a Logan massage parlour illegally offered customers sexual services for extra payment, with the owner of the business "knowingly aware" of the prostitution, a court has heard.
Sexual services were offered to clients of Exquisite Massage Underwood under previous management. The Queensland District Court heard police were tipped off last year about sexual acts being offered to customers at Exquisite Massage Underwood. At the time of the offences the parlour was registered to senior financial planner Michael Patrick Barnes, 61, and managed by his wife Hong Qiao.
Advertisement The business, which has since been sold, was not a legally registered brothel. According to Judge Ian Dearden's published verdict, a police staff member was offered a "hand job" at the parlour on November 15, Later that day officers raided the business and arrested Ms Qiao, confiscating a phone containing messages between her, Mr Barnes and another man, Patrick Patuullo, whose role was to "broker" sex deals. In court, Mr Barnes' lawyer accepted that two months before the police raid his client was "plainly, knowingly aware of the operation of prostitution".
Police said they uncovered text messages between Mr Barnes and his wife, which showed he was unhappy about her and other staff "engaging in prostitution". However on appeal, the convictions and police obstruction charges were overturned by Judge Dearden on August Mr Barnes had earlier asked the court not to record a conviction because his ASIC-issued financial licence could have been stripped, hampering his future job prospects.
Judge Dearden said the initial sentence was "manifestly excessive" given Mr Barnes had no criminal convictions and was of good character.