Chiro asks for no jail time after exploiting refugee

A Melbourne chiropractor who exploited a vulnerable refugee for his own financial gain has urged a judge not to send him to prison. 

A County Court jury in October found Seyyed Farshchi, 50, guilty of causing a person to remain in forced labour and conducting a business involving forced labour.

His wife Naghmeh Mostafaei was acquitted of aiding and abetting him. 

Farshchi hired the refugee to work at his Persian confectionary shop in Melbourne's northeast between January 2015 and July 2017.

During that time, the chiropractor subjected the man to physically intensive work, long hours and little pay.

Farshchi also made repeated threats to report the refugee to authorities and have him sent back to his home country. 

In a victim impact statement to the court, the man said Farshchi had stolen his hope and optimism for the future. 

His relationship with his wife and daughter also suffered, and he continued to experience physical and mental pain after being worked "relentlessly to the bone".

"I feel sad my trust in this man was misplaced ... and I could be exploited to such an extreme level," the statement read to the court on Thursday said. 

Farshchi's barrister Daniel Gurvich KC conceded his client had abused his power and exploited the refugee for financial gain.

But Mr Gurvich urged Chief Judge Peter Kidd not to impose an immediate jail term and instead consider a suspended prison sentence with a community corrections order.

The barrister said there had been a six-year delay between the offending and Thursday's pre-sentence hearing, with Farshchi not committing any further crimes in that time.

Significant restrictions had also been placed on his chiropractor licence so his medical practice had suffered, Mr Gurvich said.

The 50-year-old was willing to pay the refugee more than $42,000 in reparations and he had previously lived a decent and honourable life, giving back to the community and his family. 

A recognisance release order, effectively a suspended prison sentence, and a corrections order would sufficiently punish Farshchi without sending him straight to jail, the barrister said.

But prosecutor Nicholas Papas KC said the offending was very serious, given it exploited the power imbalance between Farshchi and the refugee.

An immediate jail term with a non-parole period was the only appropriate sentence, Mr Papas said.

Judge Kidd said he was yet to make a decision so he extended Farshchi's bail until his sentencing hearing next month. 

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