Melbourne couple face maximum 25 years jail term for keeping woman as ‘slave’ for 8 years

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 6 July: A Tamil couple from Mount Waverley faces a maximum of 25 years jail when sentencing takes place in the Supreme Court on 21 July, guilty of charges of keeping a slave at their home for eight years between 2007 and 2015. The victim a woman now in her 60s came here on a 30-days tourist visa in 2007 was paid $ 3 per day. She was shifted to the Box Hill Hospital after being found in a pool of her own urine.
She looked after the couple’s three children, who considered her grandmother, the accused claimed.

“The enslaved grandmother, who cannot be named, was malnourished, with untreated diabetes, septicemia and weighed just 40kg when found at their Mount Waverley property in 2015, ” says a report in news.com.au.

The couple Kumuthini Kannan, 53, and her husband, Kandasamy Kannan, 57, recently appeared for a pre-sentencing hearing, were found guilty by a jury on two counts of possessing a slave and exercising power over a slave. Mrs. Kumuthini Kannan is a former Secretary of the Hindu Society of Victoria (HSV). The couple’s defense denied the slavery allegations in court. The husband remains on bail till the sentencing day to look after the children and the wife jailed after her bail was canceled.

Under the Australian criminal code, the maximum penalty for an offense of slavery is 25 years imprisonment (https://www.cdpp.gov.au/crimes-we-prosecute/human-trafficking-and-slavery)and “Slavery involves exercising rights of ownership over another including from a debt or contract. Slavery-like offenses include servitude, forced labor, deceptive recruiting, and forced marriage.”

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