Nine to stand trial over 'curse-lifting' death

NZPA, New Zealand/August 11, 2008

Nine people charged with the manslaughter of a woman who drowned during an alleged curse lifting ceremony have been committed for trial in the High Court at Wellington.

The nine people, including family members of Janet Moses, who was killed at a relative's home in Wainuiomata in October last year, all pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for the nine agreed at a depositions hearing in the Lower Hutt District Court, before two Justices of the Peace , that there was a case to answer.

Name suppression was continued for the six women and three men, and for a 10th person, a man charged with cruelty to a child, after a 14 year-old girl was injured at the same ceremony.

At an earlier hearing, a lawyer for one of the accused said the case involved sensitive cultural issues and argued the defendants faced potential public vilification if their identities were revealed.

The JPs accepted police evidence in the form of 98 written statements and 40 exhibits.

Ms Moses was reported to have drowned during an apparent exorcism at her grandparents' home in Wainuiomata on October 12 last year while around 40 members of her family were present.

The trial has been set down for September 22.

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