Crime

Brisbane couple found guilty of forcing Fijian woman to be their servant

A couple has been convicted of forcing a Fijian woman to work as their domestic servant in suburban Brisbane for eight years.

Key points:

  • The Fijian woman came in on a tourist visa and had her passport confiscated by the couple
  • She worked for the Pulinis for eight years in Brisbane before fleeing
  • The Pulinis had said the only thing missing in their lives was “a live-in domestic servant”

Isikeli and Malavine Pulini pleaded guilty at the beginning of their District Court trial in Brisbane to harbouring an unlawful citizen, but denied they were guilty of human trafficking and forced labour offences.

It took a jury less than a day to reach its unanimous verdict on Friday.

Malavine Pulini was found guilty of trafficking and forced labour.

Her husband Isikeli Pulini was also convicted of the forced labour offence, but he 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 $250 per fortnight.

Crown prosecutor Ben Power said it was “a secret hiding in plain sight” until the Fijian woman escaped the house in 2016.


PHOTO: Isikeli (left) and Malavine Pulini deny they are guilty of trafficking and forced labour offences. (AAP: Glenn Hunt)

Police charged the couple the following year.

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

Mr Power said 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.

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

SOurce: ABC News

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