Melbourne couple accused of keeping slave

File image of a Melbourne suburb. Photo / Getty
File image of a Melbourne suburb. Photo / Getty

A man and a woman have faced court accused of keeping a woman as a slave in their Melbourne home for eight years.

Kumuthini Kannan, 48, and Kandasamy Kannan, 52, of Mount Waverley have each been charged with one count of possessing a slave, between July 2007 and July 2015, and one count of exercising ownership over a slave.

The maximum penalty for a slavery offence is 25 years' imprisonment.

Defence lawyer Sam Norton said the crime "simply didn't happen" when the pair appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

"The complainant went from saying there's no crime to, 'I've been held as a slave'," Mr Norton told the court.

"We have a situation where her version shifts 180-degrees."

The court heard the woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - had a meeting with Australian Federal Police on September 24 last year, and also spoke with Border Protection officers.

She had been "polite but guarded" prior to the September 24 meeting, the court heard.

She attended Box Hill Hospital on September 23, 24 and 29 and is currently in Australia on a justice visa.

A social worker will give evidence at a committal hearing next year.

"Her health is improving," the prosecutor told the court.

Mr Norton said the accused deny the allegations the woman was kept as a slave.

The two co-accused will face a committal hearing on May 8 next year.

They are not in custody.

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