Oct 22, 2018

Milton, Ont. 'Psychic' Dorie 'Madeena' Stevenson Charged With Witchcraft

A Halton Regional Police vehicle
Witchcraft is an old and rarely used provision in the Criminal Code.

Sima Shakeri
Huffington Post
October 21, 2018 

Halton Regional Police vehicle cordons off a street during emergency response to a house explosion and subsequent fire.

Halton Regional Police have arrested a 32-year-old Milton, Ont. woman and charged her with witchcraft, extortion and fraud.

Dorie "Madeena" Stevenson was arrested Thursday, after a five-month investigation, according to police. Officers also recovered evidence from her property after executing a search warrant.

One of Stevenson's alleged victims told police they had been defrauded of more than $60,000 after consulting with the woman, who owns the registered business Milton Psychic.

When victims cannot be squeezed any longer, the perpetrators rely on the victim's embarrassment in not contacting police. Det.-Sgt. Dave Constantini

"What we typically see is a tendency for perpetrators to take advantage of persons when they are in their most vulnerable state," Det.-Sgt. Dave Constantini said in a press release. "Victims are manipulated into believing something bad will happen to them unless they remit cash."

"When victims cannot be squeezed any longer, the perpetrators rely on the victim's embarrassment in not contacting police."
Witchcraft in the criminal code

Section 365 of Canada's criminal code defines witchcraft as "any person who pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration; undertakes, for a consideration, to tell fortunes; or pretends from his skill in or knowledge of an occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner anything that is supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found."

Other fairly recent cases where people were charged with witchcraft include a Spanish newspaper producer in Toronto who was charged in 2012 with witchcraft after he promised to lift a woman's family curse for $14,000 and a Mississauga man who was charged with witchcraft in 2013, but had the charges dropped after agreeing to pay $23,000 in restitution to his two victims. In 2009, a Toronto woman was charged after she convinced a lawyer to fork over tens of thousands of dollars by claiming she was the manifestation of his dead sister.
New legislation

But, police may not be able to charge people with witchcraft for much longer. Proposed legislation in the form of Bill C-51 plans to remove witchcraft, duelling and other "obsolete" offences from the criminal code.

"One must wonder about the existing laws regarding the practice of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration" NDP MP Wayne Stetski Kootenay told parliament in 2017. "In addition to the fact that it impinges on the rights of some religions, and would confuse the U.S. President who is certain that he is the target of a witch hunt, this might also hurt Harry Potter cosplayers; Dungeons and Dragons "larpers", which I do not know much about but which my staff assure me is a thing; and others for whom sorcery is an entertainment. This is a good law to be rid of."

Tory MP Peter Van Loan argued the witchcraft provision can still be useful.

"The concern is, and we have all heard stories like this, that people use these kinds of fraudulent witchcraft powers to persuade people that, for example, if they put $10,000 in an envelope, which they say will be burned but they slide it under the table instead, he or she will be saved from whatever curse they say the person is under, " Van Load said."Does that provision, as it exists right now, cause any harm? No. Does it give the police an avenue or resource in the case of those particular unusual offences? Yes, it does."

Investigators say they believe Stevenson has other victims, and are asking them to come forward.


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