Thursday, May 15, 2008

Australia: Slavery Laws Face Test in Court

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - The first person convicted of possessing and using sex slaves in Australia should soon find out whether she can plead her case at a retrial.

Brothel owner Wei Tang was found guilty in 2006 of five counts of possessing a slave and five counts of exercising a power of ownership over a slave.

She was sentenced to 10 years' jail for her role in enslaving five Thai women at her brothel, Club 417, and forcing them to work off debts of between $40,000 and $45,000.

But in June last year, Tang successfully appealed her convictions in the Victorian Court of Appeal.

She argued the trial judge had not correctly identified the elements of the offence or the scope of the "intention" required.

Tang's convictions were quashed and a retrial ordered.

But the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has appealed that decision in the High Court.

The full court will hear the matter starting on Tuesday in Canberra...


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