Toronto woman charged with witchcraft

Dec. 10, 2009 at 8:19 AM   |   Comments

TORONTO, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A Toronto woman is in custody facing the old and rare charge of practicing witchcraft, along with fraud charges, police said.

The charge of practicing witchcraft in Canada's Criminal Code dates back to 1892 and was filed against 36-year-old Vishwantee Persaud in late November, the Toronto Star reported.

The woman allegedly gained the confidence of long-time criminal lawyer Noel Daley, who told the Law Times he gave the woman nearly $150,000 in salary as a legal assistant, for business ventures that never materialized and cancer treatments.

Persaud also faces two fraud charges in connection with some of those ventures, but the witchcraft charge stemmed from an incident in which she allegedly read Tarot cards for Daley and told him she was the embodiment of his dead sister, the report said.

Law Professor Alan Young at York University's Osgoode Hall law school, told the Star the witchcraft charge doesn't so much target witches, but those who fake mystical powers and prey on vulnerable people.

Persaud is to make her next court appearance Dec. 24, police said.

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