Spiritual healer acquitted in death of Dutch actress

'Lady of the Light' believed to be in Canada

The Associated Press/June 12, 2009

A Dutch court acquitted the country's best-known spiritual healer Friday of complicity in the death of a popular actress who died of breast cancer in 2001 after refusing regular medical treatment.

Prosecutors had accused the self-styled healer, Jomanda, of denying Sylvia Millecam proper care by convincing her she had a bacterial infection and not cancer.

Jomanda, known as the "Lady of the Light," did not attend the trial and is believed to be in Canada.

When the proceedings began in May, her lawyer said she had a foreboding about the timing of the trial and believed it would not be safe for her to travel to Amsterdam.

Prosecutors had asked for a 12-month suspended sentence and a two-year ban on Jomanda carrying out her healing meetings.

Judges at Amsterdam District Court said in a written ruling that by supporting Millecam's belief that she was suffering a bacterial infection and not cancer, Jomanda "fell short of the level of care" she should have given Millecam.

However, the judges said Jomanda's support was not responsible for preventing Millecam seeking regular medical treatment.

Two alternative physicians were found guilty of harming Millecam's health by not giving her regular medical treatment for cancer or referring her to another doctor.

However, the judges didn't impose any sentence on either doctor, saying they already had been hurt by poor publicity stemming from the case and been sanctioned by a medical ethics board. The doctors' identities were not released by the court.

The Dutch Association Against Quackery welcomed the ruling as a clarification of the responsibilities of alternative healers.

"But it is disappointing that those involved can, in theory, continue with their healings," the association added.

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