Exorcism weapon 'against the demon'

Last updated 16:22 06/05/2009

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A teenage girl subjected to an exorcism ritual told police that she did not think it was done to hurt her.

In a video-taped interview with police - one eye still bandaged - the 14-year-old girl said her eyes were held open one at a time and water poured into them.

The interview was played to a jury in the High Court at Wellington today.

The court is hearing the trial of nine people charged with the manslaughter of Janet Moses, 22, on October 12, 2007, during an exorcism ceremony in a crowded flat in Wainuiomata. The Crown says the mother-of-two drowned when water was forced into her mouth.

The defence says the accused wanted to help Ms Moses and the girl remove a makutu or curse. They have pleaded not guilty.

The identities of the nine manslaughter accused were revealed today.

However, the identities of a woman and a man charged with cruelty to a 14-year-old girl in their care will remain secret.

The 14-year-old said water was poured into her mouth and attempts were made to make her vomit up the evil inside her.

"They were saying that, like, that is our, that was our weapon kind of thing, against the demon."

"That is why I went so nutty [because] the demon inside me didn't like the cold water."

At one point she blanked out. "I think that is when they nearly lost me," she said.

The process was performed on others in the Wainuiomata flat in October 2007. The Crown says it claimed the life of 22-year-old mother-of-two Janet Moses who it is alleged drowned.

The nine manslaughter accused were today revealed as her mother's siblings and their partners. Name suppression first enforced when they were arrested in December 2007 lapsed at midday.

The manslaughter accused who can be named are:

* John Tahana Rawiri, 50;

* Georgina Aroha Rawiri, 50;

* Glenys Lynette Wright, 52;

* Aroha Gwendoline Wharepapa, 48;

* Hall Jones Wharepapa, 46;

* Tanginoa Apanui, 42;

* Angela Rangiaroha Orupe, 46;

* Gaylene Tangiohorere Kepa, 44;

* and Alfred Hughes Kepa, 48.

Court documents record all as being from Wainuiomata except Orupe who has a Paraparaumu address.

John Rawiri is the brother of Janet Moses' mother. The sisters of her mother are Aroha Wharepapa, Tanginoa Apanui, Angela Orupe, Gaylene Kepa and Glenys Wright.

Their trial in the High Court at Wellington began on Monday and may last up to six weeks.

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- The Dominion Post

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