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


Slave-owning couple who kept woman locked up for eight years launch appeal from jail claiming she ‘lied’ about having to work 23-hour days and couldn’t get out

  • Kumuthini and Kandasamy Kannan sentenced in 2021
  • Court determined that the woman was enslaved for eight years
  • The couple have appealed, claiming that she lied.

A woman held as a slave in a suburban Melbourne home has been charged with telling provable lies by a defense lawyer as the couple convicted of their slavery appeal.

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 sentence, while Mr. Kannan is serving at least three of a six-year sentence.

The woman, now 60, said she had to work up to 23 hours a day doing housework, caring for the couple’s children and was unable to leave the house or mix with other members of Melbourne’s Tamil community.

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

She said that she did in fact leave the house after being photographed at Crown Casino, Arthurs Seat, Ballarat and other areas, did not work extreme hours and mingled with other members of the Tamil community.

Kandasamy Kannan (pictured) has launched an appeal

Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) stood trial with her husband

Kumuthini Kannan (pictured) stood trial with her husband

There were claims that the woman was being paid less than $3.40 a day, but Dann said she was “completely out of control” when questioned about it.

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

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

The couple had a joint trial, however Kannan’s lawyer, Colin Mandy, suggested that his client should have been tried separately because the scope of the trial changed and a jury heard inadmissible evidence.

She was concerned that the claims against Ms. Kannan would automatically be combined with those of her husband.

However, prosecutor Patrick Doyle SC said the two were part of an ongoing hoax 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.