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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Witchcraft case halted over tears
Sebastian Pinto arrives at court
Sebastian Pinto denies aiding and abetting child cruelty
A trial into the alleged torture of a girl accused of being a witch has been adjourned after she started crying.

The girl, now 10, got upset when videos of police interviews with her were shown to an Old Bailey jury.

The child's aunt, 39, and Sita Kisanga, 35, from London, deny conspiracy to murder and several counts of child cruelty from November 2003.

Sebastian Pinto, 33, and Kiwonde Kiese, 21, both of Stoke Newington, London, deny aiding and abetting child cruelty.

'Chilli peppers'

Judge Christopher Moss ordered the video to be stopped and adjourned court so the girl could calm down.

The court had earlier heard the girl was put in a bag and was about to be thrown into a river when the attack was stopped.

Sita Kisanga wearing orange headscarf
Sita Kisanga denies all the charges against her

Charges against the four defendants allege that chilli peppers were rubbed into the girl's eyes, she was beaten with a belt, slapped, cut with a knife and starved.

The ill-treatment of the then eight-year-old started when a boy told his mother that the girl had been using witchcraft against the family, prosecutor Patricia May said.

She added that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was brought to Britain from Angola in 2002 by one of the defendants, who claimed she was her daughter.

The girl's father had died in the fighting in the African country's civil war and her mother was also feared dead.

Kiwonde Kiese arrives at court
Kiwonde Kiese denies aiding and abetting child cruelty

The girl had earlier appeared on a video link to the court after waiting more than four hours for an interpreter to be found for one of the defendants.

She buried her face in her hands and said "I am not coming back tomorrow" when the judge said five hours of interviews could not be completed on Tuesday.

Judge Moss and the barristers have removed their wigs and gowns to make the courtroom less intimidating.

The trial continues on Wednesday.




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