A spiritual healer has been acquitted of detaining a Sydney man against his will to carry out a black magic exorcism involving cupping and cutting but found guilty of a lesser assault charge.
Riza Morinaj, 39, was found guilty of the less serious charge of assaulting occasioning actual bodily harm in company at a Sydney home in November 2016.
The victim, who can’t be identified, testified he was held down on a bed as suction cups were placed on him and cuts made with a blade because relatives thought he’d been subjected to black magic.
That belief stemmed from his decision to move out of his mother’s house with his wife who felt she was being treated like a slave.
Riza Morinaj (pictured) says that he’s performed a black magic exorcism, involving slashing a man with a blade, on thousands of people
After almost three days of deliberations, a NSW District Court jury late on Wednesday found Morinaj not guilty of detaining the man in company occasioning him actual bodily harm.
The victim told the jury he didn’t give permission for the Hijama – which involves the use of suction cups to draw blood and incisions made with a blade – to be performed when he and his wife attended a family function.
The procedure, which the man told police was ‘voodoo s***’, aimed to draw out black blood which was ‘the evil’, Morinaj testified.
The Melbourne healer told the jury he believed he had the man’s consent for the procedure which had been arranged by the victim’s grandfather.
He said the man was not held down, nor did he tell him to stop or say the suction cups were hurting.
Morinaj said he’d performed the procedure on thousands of people in many countries and would have stopped if there’d been any objections.
His barrister, John Selimi, submitted that the ‘conflicted’ man had wanted to appease his grandfather by engaging in the procedure but then had to ‘fabricate a false story to keep peace with his wife’.
A man did not consent to an exorcism involving a blade, a Sydney court was told (Pictured: Riza Morinaj, who has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and assault)
Crown prosecutor Ken Gilson described Morinaj as having ‘supreme self-confidence’ and being ‘on a mission’ to rid people of black magic.
He made a long-distance diagnosis ‘through third party malcontents from the family’ that the man was infected with black magic.
He urged the jurors to take note of Morinaj’s evidence showing he had no doubt about his ability to diagnose, treat and cure people with black magic to decide whether he carried out the Hijama while ‘riding roughshod’ over the man’s protestations.
Judge Helen Syme, who continued Morinaj’s bail, will hear sentencing submissions on November 2.
The case is continuing before the Downing Centre District Court (pictured)