Trial Begins in Maori Exorcism Death

Woman drowned during ritual to rid her of evil spirits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 2:45 AM CDT
The gable of a traditional Maori meeting hall. Defense lawyers for a group of Maoris accused of killing a woman during an exorcism say their clients were only trying to help the woman.   (©Steve & Jemma Copley)
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(Newser) – Nine Maoris accused of killing a mother of two during a botched exorcism have gone on trial in New Zealand, the Daily Telegraph reports. The six women and three men have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of the 22-year-old woman who drowned when the accused restrained her and poured water down her throat in an indigenous ritual to purge her of evil spirits, said prosecutors.