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Qld forced labour couple face sentencing

A Brisbane couple convicted of a series of offences related to bringing a Fijian woman into Australia and forcing her to work for them is to face sentencing.

Civil engineer Isikeli Feleatoua Pulini was found guilty in Brisbane District Court last Friday of a forced labour offence and not guilty of human trafficking.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of harbouring an unlawful non-citizen before the trial began on Monday.

Meanwhile his wife, public servant Malavine Pulini, was found guilty of a human trafficking offence, a forced labour offence and pleaded guilty to two counts of harbouring an unlawful non-citizen.

The jury deliberated for much of Friday before reaching their verdict.

The victim, who cannnot be named for legal reasons, arrived in Brisbane in 2008 and her passport was taken from her.

The jury found she was forced to work for the couple until she left the home in 2016.

During this period the woman was paid about $250 per fortnight into a bank account under Mr Pulini’s name, but the court was told there was a period where the woman had to stretch this amount to last about seven weeks.

The woman wiped tears from her eyes as she gave evidence into the six years of her life via video from a separate room in the courthouse during the trial.

Crown prosecutor Ben Power described her as “hiding in plain sight” as she worked on call around the clock at Mr and Mrs Pulini’s suburban Brisbane home.

Once she had overstayed her initial three month tourist visa the woman said she feared what would happen if she approached authorities.

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