The couple were jailed for their crimes in keeping a slave.Source:News Corp Australia
A “pitiless” husband and wife who committed “a crime against humanity” when they enslaved a woman in their Melbourne home for eight years have been jailed.
Kumuthini Kannan, 53, and her husband Kandasamy, 57, were found guilty of intentionally possessing the woman as a slave and intentionally exercising the right of ownership over a slave between 2007 and 2015.
The couple were jailed by Victoria’s Supreme Court Justice John Champion on Wednesday with Mrs Kannan ordered to spend eight years behind bars and Mr Kannan jailed for six years.
“We must rid ourselves of ingrained images of rows of men chained together at the oars of the galley or men, women and children working in fields in bondage,” Justice Champion said.
Kandasamy Kannan arrives at the Supreme Court where he and his wife Kumuthini were jailed for keeping a woman as a slave. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David GeraghtySource:News Corp Australia
“Slavery can be much more subtle than that.”
The couple committed a “crime against humanity” and this case may be the first instance of slavery relating to domestic servitude to be heard in an Australian court, Justice Champion said.
“Using or possessing a person in a condition of slavery is repugnant, degrading of the human condition and a gross breach of human rights,” he said.
The enslaved grandmother was malnourished, with untreated diabetes, septicaemia and weighed just 40kg when found at the couple’s Mount Waverley property in July 2015.
Kandasamy Kannan, 57, arrives at Victorian Supreme Court ahead of his sentence. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David GeraghtySource:News Corp Australia
However Mrs Kannan only called an ambulance after she took her children to a school concert and then gave paramedics a false name for her victim.
The couple did not reveal the woman was in hospital when police questioned the pair at the request of the grandmother’s relatives.
“This approach to police and what you said to them was an example of pitiless and heartless conduct on the part of you both,” Justice Champion said.
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The judge said the couple controlled almost all aspects of the woman’s life and freedom and slammed their behaviour.
“You both grossly exploited a vulnerable person for which you should be ashamed,” Justice Champion
He said he was “quite convinced” the couple believed they had done nothing wrong.
“On behalf of the Australian community this court condemns you for your disgraceful conduct,” the judge said.
The sentence comes after a jury found the husband and wife pair guilty in April following a 49-day trial.
Kumuthini Kannan is led from Supreme Court to a prison van after her pre-sentence hearing in June. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David GeraghtySource:News Corp Australia
The grandmother told the court during the trial she had been beaten with a frozen chicken, had hot water poured on her, was cut and only had an hour’s rest every night. But lawyers for the husband and wife disputed her version of events.
During the time she was enslaved the woman was at the couple’s “beck and call” and paid roughly $3.39 per day, the court heard.
She moved to Australia in 2007 and was promised she would get paid for doing the household duties and taking care of the couple’s children.
Mr Kannan will be eligible for parole in three years and his wife will be eligible after she spends four years behind bars.
More to come.