Breatharians appeal against manslaughter convictions

Australian Broadcasting Corp., May 9, 2000

A husband and wife who were jailed for the death of a Melbourne woman after she took part in a 21-day fasting program are appealing against their sentences in Brisbane.

Jim and Eugenia Pesnak, both aged in their sixties, were convicted of manslaughter last year, after failing to seek adequate medical attention for the woman, whose health declined during the fast.

They were jailed for six years and three years respectively, with no recommendation made for parole.

The Pesnaks follow the teachings of a spiritual cult called "breatharianism" which believes that human life can be sustained on air alone.

Counsel for the Pesnaks has told the Court of Appeal that they had no intention to harm the woman, and that the offences occurred in the background of shared beliefs.

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