Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Tauranga fruit farm contractor's offer to pay reparation and his health problems keep him from jail

Jafar Kurisi was sentenced in the High Court at Tauranga today after earlier admitting four representative charges of exploiting 13 workers. Photo/File
Jafar Kurisi was sentenced in the High Court at Tauranga today after earlier admitting four representative charges of exploiting 13 workers. Photo/File

A Tauranga man sentenced in connection with a recent high-profile human trafficking case has avoided jail after offering to pay full reparation to his victims.

Jafar Kurisi, also known as Md Wagid Ali, was sentenced in the High Court at Tauranga today, after earlier pleading guilty to four representative charges of exploiting 13 workers, including four Fijian nationals.

Kurisi, a Tauranga-based orchard labourer contractor, admitted he failed to pay his victims minimum wage or holiday pay and provided them with poor quality accommodation and food.

The charges stemmed from an Immigration Service investigation which also led to the conviction of Faroz Ali on 15 human trafficking charges involving Fijian nationals, after a jury trial in Auckland High Court late last year.

He was jailed for 9 years and six months in December.

Justice Paul Heath today sentenced Kurisi to 12 months home detention and ordered him to pay $55,000 reparation by March 31.

Justice Heath told Kurisi he would have gone to prison if it had not been for his offer to pay full reparation and his significant health problems. He also gave Kurisi credit for pleading guilty to the charges.

Justice Health said he also took into account a recent medical report which outlined Kurisi's health problems, which included recently having heart surgery.

"Ordinarily this type of offending would demand a prison sentence but in your case, after allowing for the mitigating factors, I'm prepared to commute that to home detention."

Justice Heath warned Kurisi if he reneged on his offer to pay reparation in full, then the Crown could ask for him to be re-sentenced and he risked going to jail.

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