There were no signs of open business on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 at “Milton Psychic”. The signs that advertised Dorie Stevensons’ services in her front lawn and on the windowsill have been taken down. Stevenson opened the door, saying that she cannot answer any questions.
“Please forward all your questions to my lawyer,” she said.
A close neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said that Stevenson always kept to herself and never caused trouble.
Stevenson was charged with witchcraft early October and had appeared in Toronto’s court on Nov. 19, where, according to Det. Const. Sarah McCullagh, the charges have moved forward.
According to the Halton Regional Police’s press release, Dorie Stevenson, 32, of Milton, was arrested “without incident” on Oct. 18 and charged with “witchcraft – fortune telling”, along with extortion and fraud over $5,000. The police arrested Stevenson after a victim reported being defrauded of more than $60,000 in cash and property.
The police say the arrest had nothing to do with any religious practices. They laid witchcraft charges alongside fraud because a woman was asking for money for psychic services.
“It truly outlines what had gone on. That charge encompasses what the investigation started with, and then it continued and we had enough for fraud as well,” said McCullagh, of 1 District Criminal Investigations Bureau, in a phone interview on Nov. 19.
Police said Stevenson, who used the name “Madeena”, was operating a provincially-registered business called “Milton Psychic”, located on Ontario St. S., a residential area along Regional Road 25 in Milton. The victim had been paying Stevenson for cleansing rituals to get rid of the bad energy she “sensed” around the victim. McCullagh said the police are not releasing any information about the victim’s sex, age or how long they knew Stevenson, as it goes against the victim’s rights. She said that other victims have come forward, too.
Whether she will continue operating “Milton Psychic” at this point is up to her. McCullagh said the police have not stopped her from doing business.
There is a reason for why Witchcraft law is on Canada’s books. A University of Toronto professor, who teaches a course called “Witchcraft and Magic in Christian Tradition”, explained that Canada inherited its Criminal Code almost verbatim from the British Empire.
“In the mid-1700s, after the witch crazes in Europe, England and the American colonies, the British law redefined witchcraft as a form of fraud,” Leslie Hayes said in an interview on Nov. 29. “But they’re reworking that section. Canada does not want to make any hint that they’re criminalizing that religion.”
Charges of witchcraft seem absurd, yet police use Section 365 in the Criminal Code of Canada to lay them. The section states that it is a crime to “fraudulently pretend to practice witchcraft”, which covers anyone who claims to have such abilities for fraudulent purposes. In October, Halton police used this section to arrest a woman who fraudulently claimed to be a psychic.
Bill C-51 is expected to repeal Section 365. Since the new bill has not gone through the House of Commons yet, that charge is still in the Criminal Code. Whether witchcraft charges will drop from Stevensons’ case after the repealed is unknown.