We have seen a number of witchcraft prosecutions in the Middle East (here), but the most recent such case is coming out of Toronto where Vishwantee Persaud, 36, is accused of engaging in witchcraft under a little used law. She may, however, have a rather novel defense.
Witchcraft is not per se illegal in Canada. However, the use of witchcraft to defraud is. Persaud is accused of defrauding a lawyer of nearly $150,000 and has been hit with eight charges.
She is accused of pretending to commune with a man’s dead sister to gain control over his finances. Section 365 of the Canadian Criminal Code states “Every one who fraudulently … pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration … is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.”
Of course, this would suggest that if you are not pretending and you are a real witch, you cannot be prosecuted. This trial could be the witch version of the Miracle on 34th Street as Persaud needs only to prove that she is a real witch.
For the full story, click here.