Canadian Woman Charged with Witchcraft Just Two Days Before Law Used to Charge Her was Repealed
33-year-old Tiffany Butch of northern Ontario was charged with “pretending to practice witchcraft” on December 11th—just two days before the law that criminalizes the practice, Section 365 of the Criminal Code, was repealed.
Butch, who goes by the nickname “White Witch of the North,” was accused by police in the city of Timmins of being a "self-proclaimed spiritualist, medium and clairvoyant" who made "extravagant claims of impending danger" to a client last October, and demanded payment from them to avoid their fate.
But Butch insists that she never pretended to be a witch or illicitly demanded money.
"People proclaimed me a witch here and gave me a nickname, but I'm not a witch. I'm a psychic," she said. “I don't know who this person even is, and none of my customers from October to now have put in any complaints with me or asked me for refunds back.”
The psychic maintains that the accusations are false, and that she has been framed by rival psychics, although she declined to name anyone specifically. Butch did say that she was visited by a woman in October at her office in Timmins who asked for a crystal ball reading, but she declined, telling the woman she was not in business at that time.
"I don't believe that I even read for her," Butch said. "I don't believe I even provided this woman a reading."
Marc Depatie, a spokesperson for the Timmins police department, said that the fact the archaic criminal code was about to be repealed did not influence their decision to charge Butch, and that police and prosecutors simply work with the laws that are on the books at the time of the offense.
"That's why police and the Crown attorneys keep ancient, or aged, versions of the Criminal Code on hand, to see what laws apply," he said. "[In] this particular set of circumstances, the person gave them a sense of foreboding that a dreadful thing was about to happen to their family at some point...[and that] they should provide them with financial compensation so they could perform some sort of mystical service that would prevent that from happening."
Butch praised the repealing of Section 365, and added that she plans on retaining a lawyer to fight the charges levied against her.
"I feel hurt, but I feel like there's victory for me as a psychic," she said.
She is scheduled to appear in court on January 22nd.
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