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Melbourne slave couple who kept Tamil woman locked up for eight years launch appeal from jail


Slave traders couple who kept woman locked up for eight years are appealing against the prison, claiming she ‘lied’ about being forced to work 23 hours a day and not allowed to go outside

  • Kumuthini and Kandasamy Kannan sentenced in 2021
  • The court ruled that the woman had been enslaved for eight years
  • The pair appealed, claiming she had lied

A woman held as a slave in a suburban Melbourne home has been accused by a lawyer of telling demonstrable lies.

In 2021, Kumuthini Kannan and her husband Kandasamy Kannan were convicted of enslaving a vulnerable Tamil woman in their Mount Waverley home between 2007 and 2015.

Ms. Kannan is serving at least four years of an eight-year prison sentence, while Mr. Kannan is serving at least three of a six-year prison sentence.

The woman, now in her 60s, said she had to work up to 23 hours a day to do housework, look after the couple’s children and was not allowed to go out or mingle with other members of the Tamil community. community in Melbourne.

On Tuesday, Ms Kannan’s lawyer, Dermott Dann, told the Court of Appeal that the woman had provided contradictory evidence and told “considerable and demonstrable lies” about her treatment.

He said she indeed moved out after being photographed in Crown Casino, Arthurs Seat, Ballarat and other areas, did not work extreme hours and mixed with other members of the Tamil community.

Kandasamy Kannan (pictured) launched a call

Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) was tried along with her husband

Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) was tried along with her husband

There were claims the woman would be paid less than $3.40 a day, but Mr Dann said she was “devastated” when asked about it.

She first lived with the Kannans for six months in 2002 and 2004 before returning in 2007 on a 30-day tourist visa.

She was rushed to hospital in July 2015 after collapsing and suffering from untreated diabetes and sepsis.

The pair had a joint trial, but Mr Kannan’s lawyer Colin Mandy suggested that his client should have been tried separately as the scope of the trial changed and inadmissible evidence was heard by a jury.

He was concerned that claims against Ms Kannan were being automatically merged with those of her husband.

Prosecutor Patrick Doyle SC, however, said both were part of an ongoing deception from the moment she arrived in Australia and continued until the woman was hospitalized.

He said the couple went to great lengths to hide the woman’s true identity to avoid detection.

A decision on the appeal against their convictions and sentences will be made at a later date.

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