A lawyer has been sentenced for knowingly providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand that helped enable human trafficking.
Mohammed Idris Hanif was found guilty earlier this year and today was sentenced to 10 months' home detention, with six months' post detention conditions.
He was also ordered to pay reparations to the three Fijian workers who were exploited, in the way of $1575.
Today the Manukau District Court heard Hanif's application to renew his practising certificate had been put on hold while the Law Society awaited the outcome of this case.
In 2014, Hanif provided legal services to Faroz Ali, who was found guilty of human trafficking in 2016. It was the first conviction for the crime in New Zealand's history.
On five occasions, visa applications were submitted by Hanif that included false and misleading information, stating that three Fijian workers were tourists who wished to stay longer in New Zealand to sightsee and visit family and friends.
The fraudulent information enabled the workers Ali had trafficked into New Zealand to remain in the country and be used as a labour source in his gib fixing business.
Crown prosecutor Shona Carr said Hanif showed no remorse, refusing to acknowledge the offending and had a "marked attitude of entitlement".
She said naive and unworldly people had been exploited.
"They worked hard. They earned little money."
They continued to put up with the poor living conditions because they had already invested so much in coming to New Zealand, she said.
"They were embarrassed, they were ashamed," Carr said.
Judge Gregory Hikaka said while in New Zealand: "Their living arrangements were poor but they had come with the prospects of earning significantly more than they ever could in Fiji."
Judge Hikaka said Hanif maintained his innocence and believed he had "basically done nothing wrong".
"You have referred to the overall situation as trivial," he said.
"I am mindful of the gravity and seriousness of the charges."
Aggravating features were the premeditation, the breach of trust and that it challenged the integrity of the immigration system, he said.
Hanif was found guilty after a four-day trial in the Manukau District Court held in April.
Today the conviction for five counts of knowingly providing false and misleading information to Immigration New Zealand was entered.
Immigration New Zealand assistant general manager Peter Devoy said after Hanif was found guilty: "The sole intention of Mohammed Hanif's involvement in the visa applications was to commit fraud.
"We will not tolerate people committing immigration fraud and today's outcome reflects this."
The Fijian workers involved have now returned home.