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Saturday 23 March 2019
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Woman, 56, in court over obeah claims

Ester Rodriguez Henry, leaves Siparia magistrates' court yesterday. She is being sued by another woman for practising obeah and wtichcraft
Ester Rodriguez Henry, leaves Siparia magistrates' court yesterday. She is being sued by another woman for practising obeah and wtichcraft

A MAGISTRATE has ordered a woman to provide a summary of evidence to prove that another woman used witchcraft and obeah against her.

Shelly Raymond, 38, must file the evidence in the Siparia magistrates’ court and serve the woman, Ester Rodriguez Henry, 56, against whom she filed a private complaint.

She did so on November 14 last year, and yesterday the case came up before magistrate Ava Vandenburg-Bailey.

Under the heading Obeah and Witchcraft in Section 43 Chapter 11:01 of the Summary Offences Act, a person commits a crime if he or she intimidates another person by the practice of obeah or witchcraft.

Called at 1.30 pm, Raymond and Henry, both of Palo Seco, stood before the magistrate.

Attorney Ramnarine Soorjansingh, representing Raymond, submitted that the charge should be amended to include the words, “fraudulent use of devices designed to inflict injury or loss.” He said the section about witchcraft and obeah practices had been repealed.

His submission was based on an objection by Henry that the law was repealed to include words which point to a person having a motive for practising obeah and witchcraft. Therefore, the wording of the charge was inadequate to amount to an offence.

Without the word "fraudulent," a person is, therefore, not committing an offence if he or she practises certain types of rituals, though the public may have a certain view about them.

Vandenburg-Bailey read over the charge to Henry, then called upon her to plead. Henry, who wore a red dress and red head-tie, held a Bible. She asked the magistrate for a copy of the amended charge.

The magistrate then told Soorjansingh to facilitate disclosure of the evidence, particularly a summary, to Henry. The attorney is to file and serve the evidence in preparation for a case-management hearing.

The case was postponed to May 8.

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