13 May 2009

Events described at fatal exorcism

10:43 pm on 13 May 2009

A witness has told a jury she saw her father using a crutch as a taiaha and speaking in Maori during an fatal exorcism in Lower Hutt during which a woman died.

Nine people are before the High Court at Wellington charged with the manslaughter of Janet Moses, 22.

Lisa Rawiri, whose parents John and Georgina Rawiri are both on trial, told the court she was at the Lower Hutt house the day before her cousin died.

She testified her father was swinging a crutch around like a taiaha and giving a Maori challenge, which she thought was "weird" because she had never seen him do that before.

Ms Rawiri said usually she laughed at her father when he spoke Maori because he could not pronounce it properly - but that night he was doing a good job of the pronunciation.

She said others who were there thought their deceased uncle was speaking through her father.

The court also heard from a relative of Janet Moses, who said he was urged to stay awake during the attempted exorcism so evil spirits did not take hold of him.

Dwayne Smith said he went to the house where the ceremony occurred on the night before she died. He said he felt like going to sleep but a cousin urged him to stay awake.

Mr Smith said he understood some evil spirits had been chased into the toilet and no one was allowed to go in there.