Trial begins for religious sect accused of killing child

submitted by MicroWave

www.bbc.com/news/articles/c97dq22nj0lo

Members of an Australian religious group have gone on trial accused of killing an eight-year-old diabetic girl by denying her medical care and offering prayer instead.

Elizabeth Struhs was found dead at a home in Toowoomba - about 125km (78 mi) west of Brisbane - in January 2022, after she had allegedly gone without insulin for several days.

Prosecutors say the sect shunned the use of medicine and trusted God to “heal” the child - “extreme beliefs” which had already almost ended Elizabeth’s life in similar circumstances three years before.

The girl's parents are among the 14 defendants, all of whom have refused lawyers.

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13 Comments

andrew_bidlaw , edited

I'd have a hard time keeping whatever beliefs I have in front of a dying child, and they did it, twice.

Buffalox , edited

The Christian alarmists claiming satanic blood sacrifices exist without evidence, is whataboutism to make people forget common Christian extreme practices, like not allowing abortion even in case of lethal danger to the mother.

Christianity needs to go, along with all other religions.

You can't pray diseases away, this has been attempted for hundreds of years, and never been shown to work in even the slightest degree.
On the contrary there are indications that show people take longer to get well, or can even get MORE sick from it!

For instance this study:
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/longawaited-medical-study-questions-the-power-of-prayer.html

And later another study with similar results:
https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-mar-31-sci-prayer31-story.html

Sanguine_Sasquatch

I'd be I treated to see studies of religious influence in delaying medical prosecuted from countries with more available/affordable medical care than the US.

I say this because the US is known for unaffordable healthcare, and generally poorer people are in need of heal are more, and may be turning to religion to address it.

That said, I believe every religion should encourage healthcare and support medical and scientific advances

Delusional , edited

Yeah sure but you try talking logic and reasoning to a group of people who simply cannot understand basic logic and reasoning.

Their lack of it is what made them believe in religion in the first place. They're simply massive fucking idiots and should not be allowed to have children.

Though stupid dumbasses will always exist and they will turn to religion most of the time because that's what religion was created for, to control the idiotic masses.

Citrus_Cartographer

The vast majority of Christian religions don't have anything against modern medicine.

The fact that a girl is now dead because of these extremists is heartbreaking.

There's a popular parable/joke that's often told among those who are religious about a devout man in a flood who rejects multiple rescuers while saying, "God will save me." He then eventually drowns and complains to God. God then responds with something like, "What do you mean?! I sent 2 boats and a helicopter!" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_drowning_man

For Christianity in general, there's a saying that we should first do everything we can and then leave the rest in God's hands. There's a whole section dedicated to this with the most relevant part:

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14)

Any Christian religion that chooses to ignore modern advances in medicine (be that vaccines, insulin, or whatever) shows that they're ignoring a fairly obvious lesson that the rest of Christianity has already learned.

AllNewTypeFace

Unsurprising that this happened in Queensland, the Florida of Australia.

AutoTL;DR

This is the best summary I could come up with:


Members of an Australian religious group have gone on trial accused of killing an eight-year-old diabetic girl by denying her medical care and offering prayer instead.Elizabeth Struhs was found dead at a home in Toowoomba - about 125km (78 mi) west of Brisbane - in January 2022, after she had allegedly gone without insulin for several days.Prosecutors say the sect shunned the use of medicine and trusted God to “heal” the child - “extreme beliefs” which had already almost ended Elizabeth’s life in similar circumstances three years before.The girl's parents are among the 14 defendants, all of whom have refused lawyers.

They have also all opted to enter no pleas on the charges.

Formally, the court considers that a plea of not guilty.Two men - Elizabeth’s father Jason Struhs, 52, and the religious group’s leader Brendan Stevens, 62 - have been charged with murder, with prosecutors saying they knew the group's actions would likely kill Elizabeth.The girl's mother, Kerrie Struhs, 49, brother Zachary Struhs, 21, and ten others - aged 22 to 67 - are accused of manslaughter.As the trial began at the Queensland Supreme Court on Wednesday, the group filed in one by one, clad in prison clothes, taking their allocated positions in a courtroom specifically modified to fit them all.Due to the complexity and notoriety of the case, the trial is being heard by a judge only - no jury - and is expected to last for around three months.When opening her case, prosecutor Caroline Marco said Elizabeth had been an "intelligent, spiritual child".

"But [she was] too young to understand the dire consequences of her parents' decision... which she ultimately paid for with her own life.”Ms Marco alleged that in early January 2022, both parents made the decision to first reduce the amount of insulin given to their daughter, and then withdraw it completely.Members of the sect then gathered at the home to pray, she said, and it was “visible to all who saw her” that Elizabeth’s health was in danger.

But there was “no attempt” to get a doctor.She later died after having "suffered for days" , said the prosecutor.

The court heard Mrs Struhs had only been out of prison for a few weeks, after being convicted of failing to provide insulin to her daughter on another occasion in 2019.That time, the girl spent a month in hospital after medical treatment was eventually sought by her father.Jason Struhs previously had not agreed with the group's beliefs, the judge was told, but had been baptised while his wife was in prison.“He knew if he did not change he would lose his family and wife so pushed aside convictions of faith he once held, and joined them," Ms Marco said.Over the course of the trial, the court would hear from 60 witnesses including one of the Struhs' daughters, who is estranged from the family, Ms Marco said.The evidence, she added, would paint a picture of a small and “insular” religious group which centred around Brendan Stevens.Prosecutors will continue laying out their arguments on Thursday, after which the defendants will also have the opportunity to address the court.Before the trial began, Justice Martin Burn said stressed that he was obliged to provide sufficient information to ensure they got a fair trial, but could not provide them with legal advice.


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vortexsurfer

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Great job!

yeather

No jury? RICO on the whole religious group instead of just the parents and maybe religious leader? Australia is going down the gutter.

Todd Bonzalez

To my understanding, Trial by Judge Alone is allowed in part of Australia to protect defendants from jury bias in high-profile cases. Since it is designed to protect the defendant, the defendant has quite a lot of power to oppose that and request a trial by Jury. It doesn't look possible for a Defendant to demand a Jury and be denied, especially if they had their lawyer in their side, as it would imply bias by the court against the defendant.

With 14 defendants, all refusing legal representation, I don't think any of the accused are smart enough to survive even the most fair legal system.

Cypher

A Jury trial can also be denied for reasons of national security.

Todd Bonzalez

That's troubling, but I don't think it applies here? If it does, I have further questions!

Cypher

Not applicable to this case but I was just adding to circumstances where a jury may not be required/allowed in Australia

Excrubulent

Like with the Witness K/Collaery cases where some of the trials happened in secret, and the appeals court found that the national security concern was basically bullshit, at least in Collaery's case:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/oct/06/witness-ks-lawyer-wins-transparency-ruling-as-court-cites-need-to-deter-political-prosecutions

I'm glad something good came of that but it shows how easily the national security angle can be abused. We just started normalising government secrecy after WWII and it's only gotten worse since. Nobody would've accepted "national security" as an excuse for this sort of flagrant abuse prior to that.