View interactive

Five guilty in exorcism case

Five of the eight people accused of manslaughter over the drowning of a mother-of-two during a ceremony to lift a curse were found guilty late last night.

Janet Moses, 22, of Wainuiomata died on October 12, 2007, after attempts to lift a makutu on her.

The eight people accused of killing her were all whanau.

Those found guilty were John Tahana Rawiri, 49, Tanginoa Apanui, 42, Angela Orupe, 36, Aroha Gwendoline Wharepapa, 48, and Glenys Lynette Wright, 52.

Hall Jones Wharepapa, 46, Gaylene Tangiohororere Kepa, 44, and Alfred Hughes Kepa, 48, were found not guilty. A ninth defendant, Georgina Rawiri, was discharged on Wednesday.

A man and woman with permanent name suppression who denied wilful cruelty towards a 14-year-old girl during the attempt to lift the curse have been found not guilty.

The five found guilty of manslaughter were remanded on bail for sentencing on August 14.

As the verdicts were read out in the High Court at Wellington, family and supporters wept openly.

Amid chaos outside the courtroom, people were shouting and wailing and there was hostility towards media representatives and lawyers.

The jury returned its verdicts just after 10pm, after about 17 hours of deliberation.

It returned to the courtroom briefly on Thursday morning to ask for clarification on the charges faced by the pair accused of ill-treatment of the child.

During the five-week trial, the court was told the whanau believed Ms Moses had been possessed by demons after two family members stole a concrete lion statue from a hotel at Greytown in the Wairarapa.

The family performed the exorcism on Ms Moses, forcing water into her mouth and eyes to flush out the demons and lift the makutu.NZPA

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 21 Sep 2014 20:31:39 Processing Time: 570ms