A FAMILY of nine accused of an exorcism-style manslaughter have denied being guilty of ending the life of a 22-year-old woman.
The six women and three New Zealand men have pleaded not guilty in New Zealand's High Court to the manslaughter of Janet Moses during an indigenous Maori curse-lifting ceremony, known as a makutu.
Moses drowned in October 2007 when water was poured down her throat as part of the ceremony in the town of Wainuiomata, near Wellington, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The ten accused had applied to have their names suppressed, but this morning Justice Simon France ruled that name suppression would be lifted at midday tomorrow for those charged with manslaughter.
In court yesterday, prosecutor Kate Feltham said that Moses' behaviour had changed after her grandmother died, several months before the exorcism.
The curse-lifting ceremony started with prayers but became more intense, with family members shouting "get out" and "leave her alone" in an attempt to purge the evil spirits, Feltham said.
"Several people also leant over Janet, placed their mouths over her eyeballs and tried to suck at her eyes in an attempt to remove the curse," she said.
Maori Family, Daily Telegraph (Aus) 42 Comments
[5/6/2009 4:01:48 AM]
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