‘Slave’ denies lying about horrific treatment

A woman who was allegedly kept as a slave in a Melbourne home has been asked if she is telling the truth about disturbing abuse.

An Indian grandmother allegedly kept as a slave in Melbourne for eight years was asked if she was lying when she told a court she was beaten with a frozen chicken.

A Mount Waverley couple, who cannot be named, are standing trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria accused of keeping the woman as a slave between 2007 and 2015.

The recorded cross-examination was aired in court on Friday.

Lawyers for the husband and wife questioned the woman about her allegations.

“It’s not true that (the wife) hit you with a frozen chicken, is it?” lawyer for the wife Gideon Boas asked.

“It is true,” the alleged victim said through a Tamil-speaking interpreter.

The woman said other family members including the husband were watching when it happened.

The alleged victim, now in her 60s, was rushed to hospital in 2015 when she was found in a puddle of urine, weighing 40kg and was later diagnosed with sepsis.

She told federal agents in recorded interviews she was abused at the home and had been beaten with a frozen chicken and had hot water thrown on her.

Dr Boas questioned the woman on whether she told police his client had ever thrown hot tea or hot coffee on her face.

“I did say I once prepared coffee and I gave her. She poured on my face,” the woman said.

But the lawyer said that was “false” claim.

“It never happened did it?” Dr Boas asked.

“What I’m saying is the truth and nothing but the truth,” the woman replied through an interpreter.

He also questioned her claim in court that the wife pushed her down the stairs and probed why she told investigators she fell.

“You were asked by the police … ‘did she, (the wife), actually touch you?’ and your response was, ‘No, I can’t say. I lost my balance and fell. I can’t blame her’,” Dr Boas said to the woman.

“No, I didn’t mention that. I never said that,” the woman replied.

Dr Boas had to ask the grandmother repeatedly if her evidence was now that she never told those words to police.

“No. These are not words that I uttered,” she said.

The couple accused of slavery pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Their trial will continue in front of Justice John Champion next week.

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