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Court finds couple guilty of forcing Fijian woman to be their servant

April 13, 2019 7:00 am
Malavine (L) and Isikeli Feleatoua Pulini leaving the Brisbane District Court on Thursday.

Brisbane couple Isikeli and Malavine Pulini have been convicted of forcing a Fijian woman to work as their domestic servant for eight years.

They pleaded guilty at the beginning of their District Court trial to harboring an unlawful citizen but denied they were guilty of human trafficking and forced labor offenses.

ABC News reports it took a jury less than a day to reach its unanimous verdict yesterday.

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Malavine Pulini was found guilty of trafficking and forced labor.

Her husband was also convicted of the forced labor offense but was found not guilty of trafficking.

They will be sentenced at a later date.

The trial heard the couple brought the Fijian woman to Brisbane on a tourist visa in 2008, confiscated her passport and forced her to work long hours for between $150 to $250per fortnight.

The prosecutor told the court it was “a secret hiding in plain sight” until the Fijian woman escaped the house in 2016.

The Police charged the couple the following year.

The prosecution said the woman previously worked for the Pulini’s in Tonga and they brought her to work in their home because a “live-in domestic servant” was “missing” from their life in Australia.

The Prosecutor added the couple did not hand the woman’s passport back to her until 2013 — “long after it had expired” — and agreed to tell outsiders that they had kept extending her visa.

However, the trial heard Isikeli Pulini told Australian Federal Police officers he knew it was illegal for the woman to overstay her visa, and they had not made any efforts to renew it.

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