Crown cries off chasing a tougher penalty in curse-lifting case

Must express the strongest disappointment that the Crown will not be appealing the sentences dished out to five people over a makutu or curse-lifting ceremony in Wainuiomata in 2007.

Justice Simon France imposed community sentences on the five for their roles in the curse-lifting ceremony which killed 22-year-old mother of two Janet Moses.

Moses drowned as water was forced into her mouth in an attempt to flush out demons.

Alf shares the suspicion with Labour MP Trevor Mallard, that the five escaped jail because they were Maori.

He hoped there would be an appeal from the Crown. But –

The Crown prosecutor yesterday confirmed the sentences would not be appealed.

Crown prosecutor Grant Burston told Radio New Zealand the guidelines for sentencing in manslaughter cases were not as strict as for other charges.

It was within the sentencing discretion available to the court to give the community sentences and therefore the Crown would not be appealing.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia welcomes this decision, just as she welcomed Friday’s verdicts – she says politicians should leave the court matters to the court and “we should hardly be commenting about an issue that… [we] absolutely know nothing about.”

So who does know about the lifting of curses (other than bullshit artists and hucksters)?

It’s all hocum – the stuff of superstition and hum-bug, and how a court can take the practice of this nonsense into account when passing sentence is beyond Alf’s ken.

So who exactly saw the demons the culprits were trying to chase? How many demons were there? What mischief had they been doing? And so on.

Moreover, Mallard is right to counter that if Turia could comment in support of the verdict, he is entitled to his view.

He compared it to the case of Korean pastor Luke Lee who was sentenced to six years in 2001 for the manslaughter of Joanna Lee following an aggressive exorcism.

It’s a fair comparison, and one that shows either Lee got a raw deal from the courts, or the culprits in this case have got off much too lightly. Alf plumps for the latter.

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