Local News, Current Affairs and Events for the Hutt Valley Wellington New Zealand

Lower Hutt Manslaughter trial of extended family continues

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May 7

Again coverage courtesy of Dominion Post, with photos of accused.

In summary Judge lifts name surpression on accused. The accussed are revealed as siblings of her mother, and their partners. However the names of 2 people charged with cruelty to a child in their care are still surpressed to protect the identity of the girl. The charge relate to Oct 12 2007 at Wainuiomata


May 6 Day 2 of Trial

In an unprecedented courtroom drama, a self-styled “divine healer” has touched the concrete lion statue said to be behind the evil spirit that possessed a young mother, and relayed a spirit’s apology to the people accused of her manslaughter.

“He is very emotional and he is apologising to the people over there, to the accused,” David McMillan said yesterday after touching the statue and holding his shaking hand above his head.

In a process that took more than a minute in the High Court at Wellington yesterday, he bent over the lion and appeared to touch it before his hand started shaking and one arm rose into the air, supported by his other arm.

His actions appeared to affect the accused, most of whom had their heads bowed as he finished. They left the court in tears.

Mr McMillan was giving evidence on the second day of 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 she drowned when water was forced into her mouth.

The nine have had name suppression since they were arrested in December 2007, but eight are due to be named today.

One of them, as well as a tenth person, is charged with cruelty to a child and both will remain anonymous.

The Crown says the child victim was also made to drink water and her eyes were gouged.

It is alleged that a kaumatua had earlier told the group that the concrete lion, stolen from a Wairarapa pub, was a taonga and had to be returned.

Mr McMillan, a marae handyman, said that, when he spoke to police five days after the death, he believed a demon had killed Ms Moses.

He also wanted to check the girl to see if she was safe.

He saw the lion for the first time in court and asked to approach it. After he had touched it, he said he saw an old Maori man, whose appearance he described, and who had been sick on the lion.

The man apologised to the accused, he said. Mr McMillan told the court he had a gift as a divine healer. He could see spirits and talk to them.

He had been taken to the Wainuiomata flat and blessed the people there, including a dead body under a quilt.

He and others saw the body “flinch”, showing that her spirit had been released after being trapped in her body.

Only he could hear the voice of an angry kuia, or female elder, chiding the people in the flat for letting her mokopuna (grandchildren) go hungry and for smoking in front of them.

Then he saw a girl slumped lifeless on a couch. Her eyes were swollen. “I knew that I had to get her out of the house or she would have been the next one to go,” he said.

He also insisted the police had to be called to investigate Ms Moses’ death. People possessed by spirits could die unless they were treated, he said.

He saw evil spirits in the eyes of the people at the flat, telling them what to do. When he blessed them it opened their eyes.


Three men and six women are charged with manslaughter. The Crown alleges they “cleansed” Janet Moses, a disturbed 22-year-old mother of two, ending with her death on October 12, 2007, at Wainuiomata.

One of the women and a 10th person, a man, are also charged with cruelty to a 14-year-old girl.

The names of the accused, who have pleaded not guilty, are suppressed until today.

The defence says the accused wanted to help Ms Moses and the girl remove a makutu or curse. They thought they were doing what the two wanted.


5 May

A mother believed to be possessed with demons was fatally exorcised in a crowded Wainuiomata flat where water was poured into her and people tried to suck on her eyes to remove the curse, a jury has been told.

In the High Court at Wellington yesterday, the Crown alleged that people chanted and prayed, that Janet Moses’ eyes were held open while water was poured into them, and water was poured into her mouth, causing her death from drowning in October 2007.

People tried to resuscitate her but, when that failed, the group continued the ceremony on a 14-year-old girl who was thought to have caught the illness from Ms Moses. The girl was also doused with water and her eyes were gouged, prosecutor Kate Feltham said.

At an outsider’s insistence the girl was taken to hospital with swollen eyes oozing blood, with scratches and bruises, and with low oxygen levels consistent with inhaling water or vomit.

Three men and six women are charged with manslaughter. The Crown alleges they “cleansed” Janet Moses, a disturbed 22-year-old mother of two, ending with her death on October 12, 2007, at Wainuiomata.

One of the women and a 10th person, a man, are also charged with cruelty to a 14-year-old girl. The names of the accused are suppressed in the meantime.

They have pleaded not guilty.

Speaking for all 10 accused, defence lawyer Mike Antunovic said what took place was an intense and powerful experience. The participants wanted to help Ms Moses and the girl overcome the curse, or Maori makutu. They thought they were doing what Ms Moses and the girl wanted.

But Ms Feltham said Ms Moses did not consent to the process inflicted on her and force was used to overcome her resistance.

The accused did not know what they were doing but continued anyway. Ms Moses’ partner was repeatedly turned away from the flat in the days before her death and young men stood guard outside to prevent anyone entering.

On the final day of the ritual about 20 people, mostly children, were held in a bedroom while the process continued in the lounge.

Police found Ms Moses’ body in a room where the carpet squelched with water and a hole had been poked in the kitchen floor to let water drain.

Ms Feltham said a large group had discussed Ms Moses’ state of mind at a hui about six days before she died. A kaumatua said an evil spirit had possessed her and linked it to the theft of a concrete lion statue from the Greytown Hotel.

The elder believed the statue was a historic taonga but the jury would hear it was bought new at an auction in the 1990s.

A convoy of cars took the lion back and prayers were said upon its return.

The kaumatua said two bad demons had left Ms Moses and she should be watched and left to heal herself, Ms Feltham told the court.

A Tainui kaumatua, Tui Adams, who advised the late Maori queen, is expected to tell the jury that consulting the kaumatua and a blessing with water were appropriate, but what followed was ill-conceived and not part of any traditional or cultural ceremony he knew.

A psychiatrist will give evidence that descriptions of Ms Moses’ behaviour strongly suggested an underlying psychological or psychiatric disorder.

The trial is expected to last four to six weeks

via Stuff

The trial begins in the High Court at Wellington today of nine members of a Lower Hutt extended family charged with manslaughter over the death of 22-year-old Janet Moses during an alleged maketu, or curse-lifting, ceremony.

Ms Moses is believed to have drowned during the apparent exorcism at her grandparents’ home in Wainuiomata in October 2007 while around 40 members of her extended family looked on.

Police later charged six women and three men with manslaughter.

The accused have interim name suppression.

The alleged maketu was arranged to lift a Maori curse. The curse was believed to  have started after Ms Moses’ sister allegedly stole a stone lion statue from A Wairarapa pub.

A 14-year-old girl was also seriously injured during the ritual and had to have surgery to save her sight.


Written by HuttNZ

May 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. […] leave a comment » The five people convicted of the manslaughter of Janet Moses during a curse lifting ceremony have avoided jail terms (see earlier story) […]

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