The Witch of the North: Toronto Charges Woman With Witchcraft Crime

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.

8 thoughts on “The Witch of the North: Toronto Charges Woman With Witchcraft Crime”

  1. @ Judith
    You are absolutely right. The religiously biased British law on which the Canadian law was based has long since been repealed. Yesterday, on Northern Tribes ( http://northerntribes.wordpress.com/), this law was discussed concerning a man in Toronto charged in April with the same Anti Witchcraft Law. There is currently a campaign to support the repeal of this outdated law, including a letter to send to the Minister of Justice voicing your concern. The Facebook site is linked here; http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=350103684946&v=wall
    As far as “pretending” goes, some might say that Jesus “pretended” to walk on water…look how much revenue that stunt has generated over the last few centuries!!

  2. One half says to jump in the other half says to remain free. I think I’ll stay out of it.

  3. It seems to me all she should have to prove is that she believes she is a real witch, thus not “pretending”. She shouldn’t have to prove she is a witch (i.e. has any special powers).

  4. This archaic law is religious discrimination. The charges in this case should be FRAUD.

    When Jim Bakker was charged with fraud for taking Christian $$$$’s, was he charged with “pretending to be a Christian”? NO!!

    No one should have to PROVE their religious beliefs.

    Jesus didn’t.

  5. Of course, this would suggest that if you are not pretending and you are a real witch, you cannot be prosecuted.

    Good point, but then prosecution may ask defendant whether she is a good witch or a bad witch?

  6. Wouldn’t this apply to every religion? The monks told my uncle he would burn in hell if he didn’t leave them all his money. He was really scared. We had to keep buying mass cards because he was so afraid of this fate. I always thought that was extremely cruel because he went to his death with fear in his heart. Why should that have been allowed? (It also left his child without any money.)

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