But before she was deported, one of the women told police in an interview: “There are two girls working [at the Braddon address] for a man called Jimmy, one girl is sick and wants to go home”.
Following the tip, police raided Brendas’ Mort Street flat early on September 11, where they found him alone.
They also found evidence of the illegal operation on his phone, copious amounts of cleaning products and a disproportionate amount of linen.
The 37 year old was also landlord of a Fyshwick building out of which a legal brothel operated, the court has heard.
Brendas pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to a charge of operating a brothel in an illegal place.
At a sentence hearing on Friday, the man’s lawyer Luke Vozella said Brendas had been sacked from his role at the Department of Finance where he worked as a driver but where he had also recently been promoted.
He said the man had suffered shame and embarrassment from the charge and had otherwise been a person of good status in the community.
He pointed to media coverage of the case, and said Brendas had become withdrawn and reluctant to leave his home for fear of being recognised.
He said the amounts Brendas earned from the illegal operation were small and about $400 per week from two workers for a period of 10 days.
But a prosecutor argued the amount of money was irrelevant, the prosecution case was strong and general deterrence was a significant factor.
The prosecutor argued against the defence request to deal with the man under a non-conviction order.
Magistrate Bernadette Boss declined to make the order and instead convicted Brendas and ordered he be on good behaviour for 12 months.
She said that the charge amounted to running an illegal business but while the nature of the business might draw more attention there were regulations in place to protect the community.
This included the health of the workers and of their clients, and the protection of the workers who by the nature of the work and community attitudes – though changing – were vulnerable, she said.
“It is important that the courts support any regulatory framework, and especially any regulatory framework designed to protect vulnerable workers,” she said.
Dr Boss said Brendas knew full well there were regulations and he took steps to avoid payment of the proper fees involved with complying with those regulations.
It was also important to deter others who might be considering operating a similar illegal business, she said.
Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times