The Mary Johnson case

Supreme court rules in favour of Scientologists Irish Independent Thur/03/01

THE Church of Scientology, which is being sued by a businesswoman who claims she was

“brainwashed”, yesterday won its appeal against a High Court decision that it must hand over documents relating to her admission to the group.

Mary Johnson (35), who operates a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Co Dublin, won the right two years ago to see her “counselling notes” when the High Court rejected the Church’s claim that it was entitled to “sacredotal privilege” in relation to the notes. Ms Johnson is bringing an action against the Church and three members, Tom Cunningham, Gerard Ryan and John Keane.

The Church and its three members did not appeal the High Court finding in relation to the counselling notes, but said they did not have other notes and appealed the High Court finding that they should produce them to her.

These documents included Ms Johnson’s IQ test, her aptitude test, a “success story” which she completed and a security check list.

They also said they did not have an agreement she signed with Sea Org an elite group of staff members who make a commitment of one billion years to work for the organisation.

Giving the Supreme Court judgment yesterday, Mrs Justice Susan Denham said all the documents in issue originated in England and were created by the English Church of Scientology. Mrs Justice Denham said the documents were created by the English Church of Scientology and had never been in Ireland and were not in the possession or custody of the Irish Church and the three members.

John Maddock

Irish Times

Saturday, July 14, 2001

Court refuses application to stop action for damages

By Mary Carolan

The High Court has refused an application by the Church of Scientology (COS) to strike out an action for damages taken against it by a Dublin woman who claims she suffered a distinct personality change after being subjected to mind control techniques by the church.

Mr Justice Butler found there was no wilful refusal by Ms Mary Johnson (35) to comply with the order for discovery. However, he noted that the High Court had to make that order for discovery because Ms Johnson had agreed to make discovery in those terms.

It “beggared belief” that the order involved Ms Johnson having to make discovery of documents relating to her intimate relationships, he said.

Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnson, had earlier told the court his client agreed to such an order to avoid embarrassment and intimidation by the defendants and because she was anxious that the proceedings, initiated in 1995, should advance.

Ms Johnson, who operates a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Co Dublin, has sued the COS and three named persons, Mr John Keane, described as a “mission holder”, and Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan, both described as members of the COS.

Yesterday Mr John Trainor SC, for the COS, sought an order to strike out the action because of Ms Johnson’s alleged failure to make discovery of a large number of documents.

Mr Trainor argued that Ms Johnson had failed to discover documents relating to her medical and psychiatric history in addition to other items, including diaries. He said these documents were crucial if his clients were to defend the action and receive a fair trial.

Mr Cush argued that his client had complied with the order and suggested some records were being sought to embarrass Ms Johnson. He said Ms Johnson had understood the order for discovery related to personal diaries only and not appointment diaries, which she had destroyed at the end of each year.

He asked Mr Justice Butler to view the application in the context of Ms Johnson agreeing to make wide-ranging discovery to avoid embarrassment and intimidation.

He said the judge must also take into account the conduct of the defendants, who were using court procedures to delay the action. He said Ms Johnson’s first affidavit of discovery was made in 1997, and the first complaint about it was made only 21/2 years later.

Dismissing the application to strike out the action, Mr Justice Butler said while the court order for discovery was properly made, he had never seen such an oppressive order.

It included 28 categories of documents with sub categories, some of which were “plainly ludicrous”, including documents relating to any intimate relationships she had had with any person other than the third named defendant or with whom she had shared a residence.

While the discovery order was valid, he had to decide if there was a failure to comply with it, and if there was such a failure, was it wilful and likely to lead to an unfair trial.

The judge said he had to put the application in the context of the huge and extensive discovery ordered.

Ms Johnson claimed she had complied with the order. While some matters were “slightly questionable”, the judge said, he was not satisfied there was any wilful refusal to comply. Even if there was, there was a solution through making a further order. He also could not see that the defendants’ right to a fair trial was prejudiced.

Dublin woman sues Scientology church

RTE News (Ireland), Dec. 3, 2002

A Dublin woman who claims she was controlled by a cult has begun a High Court legal action for damages.

40-year-old sports shop owner Mary Johnson from Westwood, Foxrock, was a member of the Church of Scientology for two years between 1992 and 1994.

She is now suing the organisation because of the experiences and pressures she claims she suffered while a member and the threats and intimidation when she tried to leave.

In the High Court today her lawyer Sean Ryan said the evidence in the case will show how she was sucked into the organisation and subjected to processes and procedures which brought her under its control and influence.

It is claimed she suffered psychiatric and psychological injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.

She was introduced of Scientology in 1992 when she was upset after a relationship break-up.

In court Sean Ryan described the language of the organisation as psycho-religious-mythical expressions that have no meaning other than that defined by scientology.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2002/1203/scientology.html

Woman was ‘psychologically injured’ Wednesday, December 04, 2002 :

By Vivion Kilfeather
A WOMAN who claims she was brainwashed by the Church of Scientology is suing for damages.

Dundalk-born Mary Johnson, 40, who has a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, is also suing three members of the church: John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan.

In the High Court yesterday, Sean Ryan SC for Ms Johnson, said she was “sucked in” by the organisation which brought her under its control and influence.

She was recruited to the church in 1992. Efforts were made to prevent her leaving the organisation, to silence her and to devalue her. The court was also told efforts had been made to intimidate her and to prevent her suing.

Mr Ryan said the court would be introduced to a language of psycho religous-mythical scope and expressions and words with no meaning other than being defined as Scientology.

Ms Johnson had suffered psychological, psychiatric injuries, panic attacks and post traumatic stress disorder, together with loss of short term memory and that condition had been exacerbated by the subsequent illegitimate conduct of the defendants.

The story began in 1992 when Ms Johnson was emotionally upset after splitting with her boyfriend. She knew one of the defendants, Tom Cunningham, a member of the Church of Scientology, who introduced her to “dianetic auditing” of form of amateur psychoanalysis.

Mr Cunningham continually suggested Ms Johnson should go to the church’s Dublin mission in Middle Abbey Street and have a personality test so that she could become involved in Scientology.

The tests involved money and Ms Johnson was not well off. Under pressure she signed up for a “purification run down” an introduction to the church at a cost of £1,200.

Ms Johnson was required to do a medical examination and was sent to a scientolgist described as a doctor. She spent long periods in saunas and was told this was purification. People such as this were described as “raw meat” by L Ron Hubbard, the church’s founder. In March 1994, she started a “Hubbard Dianetic Auditing” course in Dublin and continued at Saint Hill Foundation in Britain.

In December, a team of recruiters from Saint Hill came to Dublin and she was asked how she was going to further her studies.

Mary Johnston vs Scientology

Irish Times Dec 4, 2002

Court told woman suffered personality change

A woman suffered a personality change after she was sucked into the

grasp of the Church of Scientology and subjected to mind-control

techniques, the High Court was told yesterday. Ms Mary Johnson has sued

the church for damages.

Among courses Ms Johnson reluctantly signed up for was a “purification

rundown”, the court heard. The starting point for entry to the church

was a personality test which was “not a proper psychological test”. Ms

Johnson was also trained to resist her family and when she tried to

leave, and there were efforts to silence and intimidate her, her lawyer

said.

Dundalk-born Ms Johnson (40), a former interprovincial squash player for

Leinster who has a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Co

Dublin, has brought proceedings against the church and three of its

members: Mr John Keane, described as a “mission holder”, Mr Tom

Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan.

Opening the case before Mr Justice Peart, Mr Sean Ryan SC, for Ms

Johnson, said the evidence would be that she was effectively sucked into

the grasp of this organisation and subjected to processes and procedures

which brought her under its control and influence.

Her involvement began in 1992, and efforts were made to prevent her

leaving, to silence and intimidate her and to prevent her suing.

Mr Ryan contended there was intimidation, watching and besetting on the

part of the church and the making of inquiries, not only about Ms

Johnson, but by people who went to her place of business. This was not a

secret process but a “noisy investigation”, involving intimidation of Ms

Johnson and members of her family. Her brother-in-law had been the

subject of an investigation.

Counsel said the court would be introduced to a language of “psycho

religious-mythical scope” and expressions and words that had no meaning

other than as they were defined in Scientology.

Whatever about the rights of Scientology, what had happened to Ms

Johnson constituted a serious wrong when she had been subjected to these

processes, procedures and rituals. These caused her damage and she was

subsequently defamed and libelled.

She had suffered psychological and psychiatric injuries, panic attacks

and post-traumatic stress disorder, together with short-term memory

loss. That was exacerbated by the subsequent illegitimate conduct of the

defendants.

Mr Ryan said the story began in 1992 when Ms Johnson was feeling

emotionally upset after she had split up with her boyfriend.

She knew the defendant, Mr Cunningham, a member of the Church of

Scientology. He introduced her to “dianetic auditing”, which was

something like amateur psychoanalysis performed by non-qualified

persons.

Mr Cunningham was continually suggesting that Ms Johnson go to the

church’s Dublin mission in Middle Abbey Street and have a personality

test for the purpose of getting involved in Scientology and “going up

the bridge”, an elaborate system of charts which would astonish anybody.

The starting point was a personality test called OCA (Oxford Capacity

Analysis), which was not quite what it sounded. She had had that in

March 1992. It comprised a series of questions, again

Scientology-devised, and was not a proper psychological test but was

calculated to point to defects. The test evaluator was the “mission

holder”, John Keane.

People were pressurised to do further tests, investigations and

auditing, involving costs, and Ms Johnson was not well off. She would be

rebuked if she criticised what was going on. Under pressure, she signed

up for a “purification rundown” which went on from September to December

1993 and cost £1,200. She was reluctant to spend this sort of money but

was assured this would change her life and improve her relationships

with her family, boyfriend and friends.

She was required to do a medical examination and sent to a Scientologist

described as a doctor. She was given vitamins, far more than normal, was

sent out on “runs” and spent long periods in saunas. People in this

situation would be described as “pure clear”.

The treatment routine also consisted of being lined up against a “twin”.

Each twin shouted verbal abuse at the other over long periods.

In March 1994 she started a “Hubbard Dianetic Auditing” course in Dublin

and continued at Saint Hill Foundation in the UK. She later started but

did not finish a “Student Hat” course.

Recruiters from Saint Hill had come to Dublin in 1994. They suggested

she sell her business and go to Saint Hill where she would be “audited

up” to a state where she would be clean and trained up as an auditor.

She paid a £100 deposit for a course on a ship in the Caribbean. At this

stage she had parted with a lot of money. Before she returned from Saint

Hill in 1994 she had signed a contract for one billion years to work for

Scientology. She finished the auditor’s course.

Mr Ryan said that when Ms Johnson got back to Dublin she was subjected

to even more phone calls. Her family were worried about her and in

contact. When she told the people in the mission that, she was trained

to resist her family. Efforts were made to disconnect her from her

family and friends and to cement the relationship with Scientology.

In evidence, Ms Johnson said Mr Cunningham suggested to her about late

1991 that they have an auditing session. She was reluctant but

eventually agreed. He sat on a bed and she sat on a chair and he told

her to look at the ceiling and count from one to seven with her eyes

closed.

Over the next 18 months there may have been 20-30 sessions. As time went

on, the feeling of euphoria she had after the first session was repeated

on a regular basis. The euphoria would dissipate and she was addicted to

it.

The case is expected to last for two weeks.

Scientology case woman’s abortion- Irish Independent Dec 5, 2002

A WOMAN who is suing the Church of Scientology told the High Court

yesterday that she broke down during an “auditing session” in 1992 and

revealed she had had an abortion.

Mary Johnston, a sports shop owner in Foxrock, Co Dublin, was giving

evidence on the second day of her action against the Church of Scientology

Mission of Dublin Ltd, on Middle Abbey Street, and three of its members,

John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan, seeking damages for conspiracy,

misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Ms Johnston (40) said that she had a number of sessions with Mr Cunningham

and at one in January 1992, she reluctantly told him she had had an

abortion in 1985.

The admission, she said, “opened a Pandora’s box”.

Ms Johnston said she took a Standard Oxford Capacity Analysis test, after

which John Keane told her she was in poor shape and needed Dianetic auditing.

When she said she had no money for it, he become angry. Subsequently she

told Mr Cunningham she was never going into the Scientology centre again.

Mr Cunningham then arranged for her to meet Gerard Ryan in August 1993 and

after two sessions she told him she had had a second abortion in 1987. In

response Mr Ryan smiled and ended the session.

The hearing, before Mr Justice Peart, continues.

John Maddock

Scientology accuser feared exposure of her private life

A WOMAN who is suing the Church of Scientology told the High Court

yesterday that after she left the organisation she believed her private

life was going to become public.

Mary Johnson said she lived in dread and fear because she knew what she had

told the movement in confidence “risked being breached”.

Ms Johnston (40), operator of a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock,

Dublin, also said she was photographed by a man while on a licensed

premises in January/February 2001.

She also said a friend had told her in her shop that earlier a man had been

on the premises and had made derogatory remarks about her. Her attention

was later drawn by a work colleague to a man in the bar area of the

Westwood centre.

Ms Johnston said she had a disposable camera which she gave to a friend who

then took a picture of the man (which was produced in court). The man had

stared at her for about 10 minutes.

She followed the man out to the car park and he jumped a wall. She took a

mental note of the registration of a car he was driving and called the

gardai. The man concerned had come into her shop on a number of occasions.

Ms Johnston was continuing her evidence in her action against the Church of

Scientology Mission of Dublin, and three of its members – John Keane, Tom

Cunningham and Gerard Ryan. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy,

misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

The hearing continues on Tuesday.

John Maddock

————————————————————-

Scientology case woman tells of abortion confession

Irish Times

Publication date: 2002-12-05

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology told the High Court yesterday she became very distressed during a church “auditing session” in 1992 and had recounted an event that nobody else knew about her, that she had been pregnant and had had an abortion.

Ms Mary Johnston, who has a sports shop in Foxrock, Co Dublin, was giving evidence on the second day of her action against the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin Ltd and three of its members: John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan.

She is seeking damages under a number of headings, including conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Yesterday Ms Johnston (40) said she had had a number of auditing sessions with Mr Cunningham from late 1991. At one session in January 1992 she was unable to recall anything.

Mr Cunningham had told her there “must be something”. She ultimately remembered the one thing in the world that nobody knew about her and said she wanted to stop the session.

She was so distressed that she was not going to be made happy by recounting anything.

The session was stopped by Mr Cunningham, and he brought her for a coffee.

He said the founder of the Scientology movement, L Ron Hubbard, had said that, if one could not confront something, it impinged on one’s ability to “get past it”.

She said Mr Cunningham kept urging her to go back into session until she capitulated. They went back, and she recounted the first time she discovered she was pregnant.

Mr Cunningham wanted her to contact the initial point of trauma. She went over it again and again.

She was distressed during the session. She had never told anybody of that incident, apart from the person involved in it.

What really disturbed her was that, far from feeling relieved at the end of the session, she actually felt anxious and concerned.

Mr Cunningham was a reasonably close friend but “not that close”.

When the abortion referendum was on, she could not get the word “abortion” out her head. On the inside she was “cracking up”.

She had had two abortions, in 1985 and 1987. She regretted what she had done, but at the end of the day she had put them behind her and got on with her life.

These matters had not come into her head on a regular basis but, after the auditing, were in her thoughts all the time.

It was as if she had “opened a Pandora’s box and I could not shut it”.

Ms Johnston said she used go into the Scientology centre in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, where she met many of the people who worked there. She knew she was “on their turf” but they were so intrusive.

She referred to a Standard Oxford Capacity Analysis test, comprising 200 questions. She thought it had something to do with Oxford University.

After the test, Mr John Keane sat opposite her and went though it with her.

Mr Keane basically told her she was in pretty poor shape, and the inference was that she was irresponsible. He said she needed to get some professional Dianetic auditing and told her there would have to be a price.

She had no money but had taken out a loan to set up her business.

She said Mr Keane said he would not accept that. He became extremely aggressive and intimidating.

When she repeated that she did not have the money, he kept insisting. He then became angry. Subsequently she told Tom Cuningham she was never going in there again.

Mr Cunningham had arranged for her to meet Gerard Ryan in August 1993. She was taken into a partitioned room.

One of two main questions asked was whether there was anything in her past “which you do not mind owning”. She did not know what Mr Ryan meant and he did not explain.

The hearing, before Mr Justice Peart, continues today.

http://yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=34922432

Church pressed woman to sell shop, court told

Irish Times

Publication date: 2002-12-06

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology has told the High Court she had been encouraged to sell her business to pay for courses which would advance her within the organisation and which would cost about (pounds) 9,200 sterling.

Ms Mary Johnston (40), who has a sports equipment shop in Foxrock, Dublin, said that in November 1993 members of a mission from the organisation came to give a course. She met two of them and was told that she was obviously extremely intelligent and should train to go “up the bridge” on the processing side of the Church of Scientology.

She was told there would be a cost involved, and it was suggested to her that she could borrow from her family or her boyfriend if she did not have the money.

When it was suggested that she should sell her sports shop to pay for the courses, she was shocked because she had spent the previous 12 months trying to prevent it from going under.

She was told she was completely wasted as a retailer and should involve herself with the most ethical group on the planet. They put pressure on her. The cost of the courses was (pounds) 9,200 sterling.

“By the time they had finished with me after five hours had elapsed, I had agreed I was going to sell my business. I was elated,” she said. She tried to borrow from her boyfriend at the time, who turned down her request.

As a result of her involvement with the church, she became withdrawn from her family and friends. She tried to recruit people into scientology but was unsuccessful in most cases. She had many rows with her boyfriend in which she “screamed, shouted, ranted and raved”. Her short-term memory started to be affected.

Ms Johnston is suing the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin Ltd and three of its members, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan, for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Earlier, Ms Johnston said she was told she could not read an article in the Evening Herald which was critical of scientology. She had heard the article had made reference to a person who had left Scientology in California. The article also made reference to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman having been visitors to that place.

She asked Mr Keane at the Dublin mission if he had a copy of it. He said she could not read it. He said she would need “class-12 auditing” to “repair” her because of what was contained in the article. Class-12 auditing would require “an arm and a leg”, added Ms Johnston. She did not see the article.

On another occasion at the end of 1993, she said, she was taken to a downstairs room in the organisation’s Dublin premises. There was an ashtray on a chair in front of her and she was told by a man to command it as loudly as she could to get it to stand up. She ended up screaming at the ashtray to stand.

She had to lift it up, acknowledging that it had stood up and say “Thank you” to it. She then screamed at the ashtray to “get down”. Then she put it down and said “Thank you.” She found what happened extremely confusing. She did not know why she was screaming at an inanimate object.

Ms Johnston said that just before Christmas 1993, a friend died from a massive heart attack, but she did not go to the funeral because sympathy was “low tone” in the Church of Scientology. At the higher end of the scale it was 40 for the higher tone while sympathy was down at 0.5 per cent. She said she resigned from the organisation in May 1994.

The hearing before Mr Justice Peart continues today.

http://yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=34947554

Woman suing Scientologists feared private life would be made public

Irish Times

Publication date: 2002-12-07

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology was photographed by a man while she was on a licensed premises early last year, the High Court was told yesterday. Ms Mary Johnston said that incident occurred in January/February 2001.

Ms Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, also said a friend had told her in her shop earlier that a man had been on the premises and had made derogatory remarks about her.

Her attention was later drawn by a work colleague to a man in the bar area of the Westwood centre. The man was queuing up to buy something and then sat by the window and photographed her.

Ms Johnston said she had a disposable camera which she gave to a friend, Ms Catherine Hamilton, who took a picture of the man, which she produced in court. The man had stared at her for about 10 minutes.

She followed the man out to the car park and he jumped a wall. She took a mental note of the registration of a car he was driving and called garda. The man concerned had come into her shop on a number of occasions.

Ms Johnston was continuing her evidence in her action against the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin, and three of its members, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

After leaving the Church, Ms Johnston said she had nightmares, sleeplessness and anxiety attacks, which she had not experienced before. Asked by Mr Michael Cush SC, one of her legal team, whether, in the two years after leaving the Church, she had ever felt free of it or scientologists, she said she did not.

From May 1994, having left Scientology, Ms Johnston said she lived in dread and fear because she knew what she had told the movement in confidence “risked being breached”. She believed her private life in some way was going to become public.

Towards October, she began to have very bad and prolonged headaches and was dizzy. She went to a doctor. She linked the headaches to Scientology.

She was invited to speak at a meeting in Clonliffe College in late 1994. Afterwards, a letter was sent by Mr Gerard Ryan to Stephen O’Brien, a journalist then with the Irish Independent. The letter came into her possession shortly afterwards. When she read it she was gutted because she knew then that the fears she had were well founded. She was grieved by what she read and she also felt betrayed.

Mr Michael Collins SC, for the defendants, opened his cross- examination of Ms Johnston by reading a nine-page article about Scientology, written by Prof Brian Wilson, of Oxford University. Ms Johnston agreed this was a reasonable summary of what Scientologists believed.

She agreed she became friendly with Mr Cunnigham in the early 1990s. There was never any romantic relationship between them. They moved into a house in Firhouse in late 1991. In early 1992, she began dianetic auditing.

She agreed she had “let fly” at Mr Cunnigham over the state of the house once, and later apologised. Mr Cunnigham suggested she try a session of dianetic auditing and she “reluctantly” agreed. Mr Collins said Mr Cunningham’s recollection was that she was very enthusiastic about it.

She could not recall asking Mr Cunnigham to destroy notes of sessions where she had divulged “my secrets”.

The hearing continues.

http://yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=34969800

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Subject: Mary Johnston is being cross examined today

Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Date: 2002-12-10 07:08:32 PST

Woman sues Church of Scientology

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology is being cross examined

by their solicitors at the High Court in Dublin today.

Mary Johnston, 40, who owns a sports shop in Dublin, said she found

training sessions at the church extremely stressful.

She claims that, at times, the sessions involved staring at people for

a hour and a half.

Ms Johnston is suing the church for breach of constitutional rights.

She told the High Court that her mind was out of control.

Mary Johnston vs C of S

Church pressure not raised on talk show

Irish Times 11/12/02

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology has been cross-examined at length in the High Court about why she had not spoken about the alleged pressure put on her by the church when interviewed on RTÉ’s Late Late Show in February 1995.

Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, also asked Ms Mary Johnston why she had not spoken about pressure to join the church in a Sunday Tribune article in 1994. In that article, she had stated she was not vulnerable, Mr Collins said.

Ms Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment business at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, is suing the church and three of its members for damages for personal injuries, breach of constitutional rights and conspiracy.

Mr Collins put to Ms Johnston that, at the end of the Late Late Show interview, she had been asked by Gay Byrne why she joined the church and she said it was because she was intelligent and interested in the way the mind worked.

“No allegation there you were pressured into doing something you didn’t want to do?” Mr Collins asked. Ms Johnston said: “It wouldn’t be one of the best replies I ever gave in my life.”

She was quite frightened to be on the show, she added. She denied that she had been briefed by Bonnie and Richard Woods, whom Mr Collins l described as members of a fundamentalist church in England opposed to scientology.

She agreed Carr Communications had helped her to prepare for her Late Late Show appearance. She did not have to pay for that preparation as Mr Tom Savage of Carr Communications was a cousin of hers.

She had gone on the show in the hope of discouraging people from getting involved in the church. However she had said very little on the show because she was contemplating litigation.

Asked about a Sunday Tribune article referring to her, Ms Johnston said that at the time she was only out of scientology six months. As an former cult member, she was coming to terms with the trauma she had been through.

Ms Johnston said she had become obsessed with having revealed to Mr Tom Cunningham, a defendant, her secret regarding her having had two abortions. She had never told that to anyone else.

In August 1993, she said, she went to seek further help from Mr Gerard Ryan, another defendant, and subsequently signed up with the church.

About the time of the 1993 abortion referendum, she was distressed and told Mr Cunningham about this. She said Mr Cunningham had told her this was because she had a “withhold” from her boyfriend and advised her to tell the boyfriend.

She had not told her sister about the abortions until she had left the Church of Scientology.

She said she had felt no relief when she had told Mr Cunningham. “I just felt vulnerable and from that point on I felt vulnerable.”

The case continues today before Mr Justice Peart.

Church of Scientology ‘coercive’

Irish Times 12 Dec 2002

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology for damages told the High Court yesterday she was distressed to recall that a man became unconscious while she was giving him an “auditing” session. She described the church as “coercive” and “destructive”.

Ms Mary Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment business in Foxrock, Dublin, said she was giving the auditing session in question in Britain in 1994. “I am distressed when I think back to how that poor man went unconscious on me and I was able to click him back. It has bothered me that I may have caused him harm.”

She has sued the church and three of its members, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan, for damages alleging personal injury, breach of constitutional rights. Mr Michael Collins SC, for the defendants, was continuing his cross-examination of Ms Johnston on the seventh day of her action.

Ms Johnston said she felt she had carried out things on a human being without having had the medical background to do so. She had done this through following the commands given by Ron L. Hubbard, the founder of the church.

Asked about carrying placards outside a Church of Scientology meeting, Ms Johnston said she believed the church was coercive and destructive and altered people’s perception of reality.

“I defend people’s rights to believe what they like, but if people carry out acts which harm people by taking them away from their families, then I have a problem with that and have a duty to speak.”

Ms Johnston agreed she had told people the church was evil.

She had changed her mind about the Church of Scientology after a meeting with her family in Edenderry, Co Offaly. She said the church diminished God as the supreme being.

The case continues today before Mr Justice Peart.

Irish Times (Ireland), Dec. 13, 2002 http://yellowbrix.com/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=35127877 A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology told the High Court yesterday she did not criticise Scientologists in general but took issue with the techniques devised by the church’s founder and used in the pursuit of its activities. Ms Mary Johnston said the church was engaged in a personal and vindictive campaign against her. Ms Johnston was asked by Mr Michael Collins SC, for the defence, if she had any objection to Scientologists, when subjected to criticism of the most severe kind, attempting to defend themselves or their point of view. Ms Johnston said her criticism of Scientologists was based on things that had happened to her and was levelled against the individual Scientologists who perpetrated what she claimed. She did not criticise Scientologists in general. Her issue was with the coercive and manipulative techniques devised by the founder of the church, L Ron Hubbard, and used in pursuit of its activities. Ms Johnston said Hubbard had written that anyone who was antagonistic to Scientology could be tricked, sued, lied to, cheated or destroyed. He had also written: “You are safe as long as you don’t attack them.” Asked if she believed Scientologists were entitled to respond to her criticisms of them, Ms Johnston said they were. She believed people were entitled to express their views but did not believe they were entitled to use information she gave them that was private and “then go digging around for dirt on me”. It was a personal, vindictive campaign against her, rather than saying: “Well, this is not true what she says about L Ron Hubbard. This is not true what she says about auditing. Here are the facts.” Yesterday was the seventh day of the hearing of Ms Johnston’s action for damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights against the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin Ltd and three of its members, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. In her continuing cross-examination by Mr Collins, Ms Johnston said that, before she went on The Late, Late Show in 1995, she had told the researcher that she did not want to be on the show and was frightened confidential matters relating to her were going to be breached by Scientologists who would be present. After she declined to go on the show, the researcher had come back to her and pressed her to go on. The hearing, before Mr Justice Peart, continues today.

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Cult ’caused member’s loss of memory’

15/12/02

THE High Court action by a woman against the Church of Scientology which was expected to last about two weeks was yesterday adjourned until January 14.

The cross-examination of Mary Johnston, the woman taking the action, has not yet concluded and the case is now expected to run for some weeks more. Ms Johnston, who runs a sports shop in Foxrock, Dublin, is a former member of the Church of Scientology and is suing for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights. Under cross-examination yesterday by Michael Collins SC, for the defence, Ms Johnston said that despite being a member of Mensa, her short term memory had been affected through involvement with the church.

Mr Collins pointed out only people who were highly intelligent were in Mensa and asked Ms Johnston to explain why she was claiming damages. She replied that since 1993 she had suffered short term memory loss and because of her involvement with Scientology would just go blank.

Mary Johnston

Irish Times Court Report Jan 15.01.03

A WOMAN told the High Court yesterday she was pursuing a legal action for damages against the Church of Scientology partly because she felt it was her Christian duty.

Mary Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, is suing the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin and three of its members, John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan.

She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional right.

The hearing, which started before Christmas, resumed yesterday after a four-week adjournment.

Michael Collins SC, for the defence, suggested to Ms Johnston yesterday that she considered it part of her Christian duty to pursue proceedings against the Church of Scientology.

Ms Johnston said “I suppose I do, ultimately”. She believed in “the remit of Christ” and if there is wrong to “expose it to the light”.

Her main reason for taking the action was, she alleged, because the actions perpetrated against her had damaged her. She would have done so even if she was a Muslim, not just because she was Christian.

Hypnosis sessions ‘upset’ plaintiff Irish Times,

January 16, 2003

A former member of the Church of Scientology claimed in the High Court yesterday that she had been subjected by the church to hypnosis techniques without her permission and had been upset by the procedures. Ms Mary Johnston (40) said that the procedures involved a countdown and prolonged staring for hours to induce a trance. Ms Johnston, who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Co Dublin, is suing the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin and three of its members, John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights. Yesterday Ms Johnston agreed with her counsel, Mr Michael Cush SC, that she was given no warning that aspects of mind control would be involved arising from her participation in the church. Earlier, cross-examined by Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, Ms Johnston denied that she had a close connection with a trust which attempted to persuade people to leave Scientology. She said: “I don’t work against Scientology. I simply say what happened to me. When people come to ask for help, I help them when I can.” She objected to being described by Mr Collins as a “deprogrammer” and said she was not in a conspiracy with anybody to do anything. Because of the length of the litigation and the stress involved in the court action, she said, she hated to see families coming near her. The court was told that in May 1994 the plaintiff was persuaded by her family to leave Scientology. She described this as a major turning point and “a fantastic time in her life”. Elaborating on earlier evidence on why she had not sought medical or psychiatric assistance, Ms Johnston said she believed she had been healed through her relationship with God, which had given her a sense of peace, healing and joy. Two witnesses gave evidence yesterday of a man so far unidentified by name who spoke to them about Ms Johnston. Ms Mary McKeown, a legal secretary, said that Ms Johnston lived in the same house as her mother-in-law. A man had called to the house on the morning of February 2nd, 2001, looking for the plaintiff, and she had told him that Ms Johnston was probably at work. In the witness-box she was shown photographs which she believed were of the same individual although, she said, he looked younger in one of them. Ms Ann Sexton, a personal trainer at Westwood Gym, also described a man unidentified by name who spoke to her in the restaurant area of Westwood in January 2001. He had asked her about “Ms Obnoxious Johnston”, remarking that he had seen her sitting with the plaintiff. The man had claimed that Ms Johnston had “diddled” a friend of his out of money. Ms Sexton said she had told him that he should discuss the matter with Ms Johnston if he had a problem. The case continues next Tuesday.

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Sociology professor’s evidence admitted in scientology case
Source: Irish Times
Publication date: 2003-01-22

The Church of Scientology has a deep-rooted objection to conducting a debate in court on the merits of religious practices, the High Court was told yesterday.

Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, objected to the hearing of evidence from a Canadian professor of sociology on the grounds that admitting such evidence could lead to the 11-day case, taken by a woman against his client, continuing until the end of February.

Ms Mary Johnston (40), a former member of the church, is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights against the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin and three of its members, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan.

After almost two hours of legal argument, Mr Justice Peart decided he would hear evidence from Prof Stephen Alan Kent.

Earlier, Mr Collins said many religious practices had the potential for stress but the court could not go into those even if they did cause stress.

Mr Collins said he understood that the plaintiff’s side intended to call about four or five expert witnesses, a total of about 10 witnesses yet to be called on behalf of Ms Johnston. This could mean the case would last several weeks and would not finish until the end of February. He would then be compelled to call upon witnesses to give counter evidence, Mr Collins said.

Responding to Mr Justice Peart on whether he was obliged to accept that scientology was a religion, Mr Collins said the church believed every human being had a soul and an immortal existence. The court was told there were 2,000 churches in 110 countries.

In evidence, Prof Kent said he had studied new religions and cults and had written extensively on the subject. He had interviewed about 50 former scientologists. He described the structure and organisation of scientology as very complicated with “international management” at the top. Ireland and Britain had one joint body while the Dublin Mission would be described as being at the lowest level of the church.

Asked by Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, if there was a general body of complaints about the church’s Dianetics auditing policy, Prof Kent said there was and he was also aware of individual testimony about its harmful effects.

Publication date: 2003-01-22

© 2003, YellowBrix, Inc.

Woman’s free will ‘was compromised’

Irish Times, January 25, 2003

A woman former member of the Church of Scientology had her free will compromised because of dependency, intrusion and pressure, a Canadian professor who claims to be an expert on the practices of the church told the High Court yesterday.

Prof Stephen Alan Kent said he was concerned about the nature of dependency which grew from the process of Dianetics which, he said, would focus on negative events in a person’s life.

He said Ms Mary Johnston had developed a dependency relationship because, it seemed, a member of the church, Mr Tom Cunningham, had used these techniques, and she was under constant pressure to join Scientology.

He was continuing his evidence in the action by Ms Johnston (40), of Foxrock, Dublin. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights in her action against the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin and three of its members.

The case before Mr Justice Peart is expected to continue for several more weeks.

http://beta.yellowbrix.com/pages/beta/Story.nsp?story_id=36203052&ID=newsreal&scategory=AP+Top+Headlines&amp;

Woman says her sister was ‘changed’ by Scientology

A woman told the High Court yesterday that she had become aware of a change in her sister at about the time the latter became associated with the Church of Scientology.

Ms Margaret O’Kelly, from Edenderry, said she had always been very close to her sister, Ms Mary Johnston, but became aware of a change in her, through “a lot of little things”, in the early 1990s. Ms Johnston was involved at that time in Dianetics with Mr Tom Cunningham, a member of the church’s mission in Dublin.

Up to then, her children loved to see Ms Johnston coming to visit, but over a period of time they would say: “Oh no, not Auntie Mary.” She felt that her children did not want Ms Johnston around.

Ms O’Kelly said that her sister had talked a lot about Dianetics and had said that it involved auditing. She [Ms O’Kelly\] said that she thought it was about self-improvement.

Her sister had talked a lot about Dianetics and wanted to use it to do away with Ms O’Kelly’s 10-year- old daughter’s grumpiness. Ms O’Kelly said she felt this was an imposition and she was worried about it.

Ms O’Kelly said that Ms Johnston had acted totally out of character. She would insist that she was right and Scientology would always be brought into it.

In August 1993, her husband’s cousin had died suddenly and, despite the fact that Ms Johnston was close to him, she was apathetic about what had happened.

Ms O’Kelly said she was appalled that her sister did not go to the funeral but rather talked about reincarnation. She showed no empathy with anybody and this was “totally out of character”.

Ms O’Kelly said her sister would telephone her mother four times a day. She would also contact other members of the family regularly, but then stopped coming to Edenderry, saying that she was busy.

“I didn’t know at the time she was going into the [Church of Scientology\] mission,” she said.

Ms Johnston is suing the Church of Scientology Mission in Dublin and three of its members, John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan.

Ms Johnston, who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Co Dublin, is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Earlier, a psychologist at University College Dublin, Dr Declan Fitzgerald, said he believed that what was called the Oxford Capacity Analysis carried out by the church in its auditing process, impinged on people’s self-esteem and was highly manipulative.

He said he was embarrassed that his profession had not got this message across to the public more clearly.

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Woman said she was ‘afraid of scientologists’

Family give evidence in Scientology case

While she was with the Church of Scientology, Ms Mary Johnston was “like somebody playing a role in a pantomine”, the High Court was told yesterday. Mr Paul O’Kelly, brother-in-law of Ms Johnston, said he found Ms Johnston was dealing with him in a planned and structured way and there was no genuine effort to engage.

Mr O’Kelly, of Edenderry, Co Offaly, was giving evidence in the continuing action by Dundalk-born Ms Johnston (40), now living in Dublin, who later left the organisation. She is suing the Church of Scientology Mission in Dublin, and three of its members for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Yesterday, Ms Margaret O’Kelly, sister of Ms Johnston and wife of Paul O’Kelly, said she and other members of her family made efforts in early 1994 to get her sister to meet them to view material, newspaper cuttings and videos about Scientology. Before she invited her sister to the meeting, members of the family needed time to research Scientology and to gather as much information as they could, Ms O’Kelly said. They contacted Ms Johnston and arranged to meet in Edenderry on May 2nd, 1994. Initially, Ms Johnston wanted to know why and rang every day for two weeks to find out the name of a book they had about Scientology and where they had got the information.

Ms O’Kelly said she and her mother arranged to meet Ms Johnston at 2 p.m. but she did not turn up until 6 p.m. Ms Johnston never apologised for being late. They wanted her to make up her own mind when she saw the information they had.

Ms O’Kelly said her sister was not relaxed and was very tense, with a continuous grin on her face. She was under stress. She refused to read any of the material they had. By 8 p.m., their mother was getting upset because Ms Johnston could not bring herself to read the material.

Ms O’Kelly said she had asked her mother to leave and she did. After that, Ms O’Kelly said, she herself broke down and told Ms Johnston they loved her and did not want her to disconnect from the family. Ms Johnston then said she would read the material. They talked about family matters and the tension was gone. The next morning, Ms Johnston said there were a lot of questions to which she wanted answers.

Ms O’Kelly said her sister told her she was very frightened. Ms Johnston had said there were things that Ms O’Kelly did not know about her but which the Scientologists knew and that she was afraid they might reveal them.

Mr Paul O’Kelly said he found that, over a time, Ms Johnston was dealing with him in a very planned and structured way. He got the feeling that every time she walked into a room, the conversation and the nature of the discussions she was going to have was already prepared. There was family concern about her.

Woman said she was ‘afraid of scientologists’

A WOMAN told the High Court yesterday of efforts she and other members of her family made in early 1994 to get her sister then a member of the Church of Scientology to meet them to view material, newspaper cuttings and videos about the organisation.

Mrs Margaret O’Kelly, Edenderry, Co Offaly, was giving evidence in the continuing action in which her sister, Ms Mary Johnston (40) – who later left the organisation – is suing the Church of Scientology Mission in Dublin and three of its members for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Mary was very tense with a continuous grin on her face when they met. She refused to read any of the material they had.

Mrs O’Kelly said she broke down and told Mary they loved her and did not want her to disconnect from the family. Mary said she would read the material.

Mary told her she was very frightened. She said there were things her sister did not know about her but which the scientologists knew and that she was afraid they might reveal them.

Church case told of phone calls to clients

Irish Times, 2003-02-01

A company director and brother-in-law of a woman who is suing the Church of Scientology for damages told the High Court yesterday he was informed that between 25 and 40 phone calls were made by a person with an American accent to his clients and to private individuals.

Mr Paul O’Kelly, Edenderry, Co Offaly, was continuing his evidence in the action by his sister-in-law, Ms Mary Johnston (40), against the Church of Scientology in Dublin and three of its members for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of her constitutional rights.

Before Mr O’Kelly resumed his evidence, another witness, Mr Michael Cleary, a director of Rotofab, a plastic moulding company, said Mr O’Kelly’s company, O’Kelly Sutton, marketing consultants, did some work for Rotofab when the latter began business. Later, Mr O’Kelly became a shareholder and member of Rotofab.

In 2002 , he received a phone call from a Tom Bishop, who had an American accent and who said he was doing a due diligence report on O’Kelly Sutton for an American company. He had told Mr Bishop that they were very happy with the work O’Kelly Sutton had done for Rotofab.

The caller asked what Mr Cleary knew about Mr O’Kelly’s other interests. Some weeks later he received a faxed document from Tom Bishop which outlined a series of situations in relation to O’Kelly Sutton but mainly in relation to Mr O’Kelly. The document was headed TR World Corporate Services, Zurich. He knew nothing about this company. He thought the phone call he had received had been from America.

Mr Sen Ryan SC, for Ms Johnston, said the document claimed to be conducting a due diligence and background for the benefit of a large corporation and named O’Kelly Sutton, Paul O’Kelly and Patrick Sutton.

Mr Cleary said the document claimed Mr O’Kelly had been dropped from a FS panel due to his connection with Rotofab as there had been a conflict of interest. Rotofab had had a little involvement with FS but before Mr O’Kelly became a shareholder.

When he read the document, he was surprised and a little worried about some of the stuff in it, Mr Cleary said. His business partner was quite upset. Having spoken to Mr O’Kelly, Mr Cleary said he had told his business partner there was nothing to worry about.

Cross-examined by Mr John Trainor SC, for the church, Mr Cleary agreed that when Mr O’Kelly was acting as a consultant to Rotofab, he was on a FS panel and they had hoped Rotofab could get grant aided.

He agreed that O’Kelly Sutton was a large firm of marketing consultants with a number of prestigious clients.

Mr O’Kelly, in his evidence, said Mr Cleary had contacted him about the faxed document and had been distressed and concerned. He had been delighted to be told about the phone call received by Mr Cleary as it was only one of between 30 and 40 calls received by the O’Kelly Sutton company’s clients.

About 25 to 30 clients and private individuals had told him they had received inquiries – all with American accents – and all the calls gave different “purposes”.

Cross-examined by Mr Trainor, Mr O’Kelly said the first he heard about Ms Johnston’s involvement in scientology was when she told him “it was great”.

Mr O’Kelly said he formed the view that scientology was “hogwash”. He had visited the church’s Dublin mission. Asked what he was doing there, Mr O’Kelly said, because of his concern, he had gone in and did the personality test to which he gave random answers.

The hearing, before Mr Justice Peart, continues on Tuesday.

http://infobrix.yellowbrix.com/pages/infobrix/Story.nsp?story_id=36351711&ID=infobrix&scategory=Business+and+Finance&amp;

Irish Times 5/2/03

Church case hears of man making “noisy investigation” of plaintiff

A man photographed while making a “noisy investigation” of a woman who has sued the Church of Scientology was similar to a man in another photograph taken outside a meeting of Families Under Scientology Stress (FUSS), the High Court heard yesterday.

Mr Richard Woods was giving evidence in the continuing action by Ms Mary Johnston against the church and three members of its Dublin Mission – Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. Ms Johnston, who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, is suing for damages. She was involved with the church from 1990 to 1994.

Mr Woods told the court he and his wife were involved in a UK organisation, Escape, which was concerned since 1992 with helping people involved in scientology. They had helped about 700 parents.

In 1994/95 he was attending a meeting of FUSS in London when he saw a man standing outside the door of the building with a clipboard and pen in his hand. He looked like a member of the Church of Scientology because of the way he dressed.

Because of litigation with the church lasting seven years, Mr Wood’s solicitor had advised him to carry a camera and he had taken a photograph of the man, Mr Woods said. The man had said he was collecting names and addresses.

Mr Woods said the man in this photograph was obviously similar to the picture of a man who had been making a “noisy investigation” of Ms Johnston and was photographed at Westwood, Dublin, in February 2001.

When Mr Woods had suggested that the man was a member of the Church of Scientology, the man had asked: “What has my religion got to do with anything?”

Cross-examined by Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, Mr Woods agreed that the fact the photograph had turned up in his home while Ms Johnston was visiting was like the work of a magician.

It had been in a shoebox but had been put into a drawer at his home, he said. His wife had got the photograph out after she had heard Ms Johnston talking about the man concerned and when the photograph was put on the table, Ms Johnston had said, “that is the man”, according to Mr Woods.

Mr Woods also agreed with Mr Collins that he was engaged in a spiritual war against the forces of Satan, which, he said, included the scientology religion.

Earlier, Mr Paul O’Kelly, a brother in-law of Ms Johnston, said he believed she had become almost fixated by scientology while she was involved with it. In continuing cross- examination, Mr O’Kelly, said that, in an ordinary situation with family or friends, she would have great difficulties.

In a family situation, with four or five people at dinner, Ms Johnston would suddenly become very belligerent about a neutral issue. Mr O’Kelly’s wife and others present would feel very uncomfortable. She was increasingly ineffectual interacting with people.

Ms Johnston had subsequently agreed not to contact her former scientology associates but, having done so, she spoke of some distress about the nature of calls she was receiving.

Mr O’Kelly said one of the defendants, Mr Gerard Ryan, had contacted him by phone. Mr O’Kelly said he told Mr Ryan he had no business with him and asked Mr Ryan to leave his sister-in-law alone.

Mr O’Kelly said he had the impression Ms Johnston was behaving like somebody who was brainwashed.

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Church’s purification course unsafe – expert
Source: Irish Times
Publication date: 2003-02-06

A “purification rundown” course operated by the Church of Scientology was neither medically safe nor scientifically verified, the High Court was told yesterday.

Prof Michael Ryan, head of the pharmacology department at UCD, said he could not find any evidence to support the claims in the church’s documents about the course.

To suggest it could get rid of radiation and toxic compounds was not supported by scientific facts, he said.

He was giving evidence in the continuing action by Ms Mary Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Co Dublin, against the church and three members of its Dublin mission for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Yesterday the court was told Ms Johnston had experienced a burning sensation as a result of participating in the purification rundown course and had been told this was a clearance of old sunburn.

Prof Ryan said there was no scientific evidence to support that contention.

Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, submitted that the claims made by the church in its documents concerning the purification course were false and the risks involved many and varied.

Prof Ryan said the claims made in the church’s documentation were not scientifically verified, and the programme was not medically safe.

In reply to Mr Justice Peart, he said some of the volumes of vitamins involved would be significantly higher than those recommended for normal nutrition. He said this was the case as regards vitamins A and D. The potential risk for higher levels included acute dizziness and headaches, he added.

Mr John Trainor SC, for the defendants, said they would be producing a doctor to give evidence that hundreds of people go through the course without reporting any adverse effects.

He said more than 290,000 people had undergone the course without any problems.

The case continues today.

Publication date: 2003-02-06
© 2003, YellowBrix, Inc.



<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Church science ‘basically rubbish’, says doctor
Source: Irish Times
Publication date: 2003-02-07

The science behind the Church of Scientology was “basically rubbish”, a doctor told the High Court yesterday.

Dr John Fleetwood, a general practitioner in the Blackrock/ Monkstown area of Dublin, told the court Ms Mary Johnnston, who operates a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, had attended him on October 29th, 1994. She was anxious and distressed.

Giving evidence in the continuing action by Ms Johnston (40), against the church and three members of its Dublin Mission, Dr Fleetwood said Ms Johnston was generally quite healthy but complained of a lot of headaches.

She was an ex-member of the Church of Scientology and he came to the conclusion that most of her problems were caused by membership of the church. There was nothing to indicate anything else. She was agitated and stressed in general.

He saw Ms Johnston again on November 15th 1994 and gave her some mild headache tablets. He held the same conclusion that day as to the cause of her headaches.

Cross-examined by Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, he said Ms Johnston told him she was trying to leave the church and was under considerable pressure. She had also told him she was engaged in protests outside the church and was contemplating suing it.

Dr Fleetwood said he believed some of the church’s programmes were a “sham” and he had no doubt her involvement in the church was instrumental in causing her stress and anxiety. He said the church did not let its adherents go without a fight. Ms Johnston’s main problem was major headaches.

When it was suggested under further cross-examination that the founder of the church, Mr Ron Hubbard, claimed to be the son of God, Dr Fleetwood objected. He said the Dianetics programme had been shown time and time again to be a sham.

The case continues today.

Publication date: 2003-02-07

Scientology Church action is adjourned
Source: Irish Times
Publication date: 2003-02-08

The long-running action by a woman against the Church of Scientology and three members of its Dublin mission has been adjourned at the High Court to next month.

Mr Justice Peart heard yesterday a witness was unavailable to give evidence and, for this and other reasons including the judge’s commitments in other courts, the case, which has been at hearing for 22 days, was adjourned to March 4th.

The action has been taken by Ms Mary Johnston (40) who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin. She is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of her constitutional rights. She was involved in the church in the early 1990s and was persuaded by her family in 1994 to leave. Her side of the case will resume on March 4th and the entire action is expected to last several weeks after that.

Publication

Irish Times 5/3/03

Scientology is ‘a bona fide religion’

By Mary Carolan

The US Internal Revenue Service determined 10 years ago that the Church of Scientology was a bona fide religion, operating various institutions exclusively for recognised religious purposes, the High Court was told yesterday.

The assertion was made in a signed declaration by Mr William Charles Walsh, an attorney in Washington DC, who said he has represented the church in many legal matters since 1978.

The declaration was read at the resumption of an action for damages taken by Ms Mary Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, against the church and three members of its Dublin Mission, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. Ms Johnston is seeking damages for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

At the outset of the 23rd day of the hearing yesterday, Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, told Mr Justice Peart his clients had concerns about the judge having previously told the court that, while searching the Internet, he had come across certain material on Scientology. However, on legal advice, his clients had decided not to make an application to stop the case and were happy for it to proceed.

The judge has stressed he retains an open mind on the case and had not read in any detail the material referred to. He also said there was no question that he had read anything that had had the slightest effect on how he had received evidence in the case.

Mr Collins said his clients wished to have the declaration by Mr Walsh read to the court. The declaration referred to a petition concerning the estate of the founder of Scientology, the late L. Ron Hubbard, which was filed in a California Probate Court by a US attorney, Mr Graham Berry.

In his declaration, Mr Walsh said the petition was improperly grounded in law and in fact and was summarily dismissed at the first hearing.

He said the petition raised “identifical false allegations” – that church leaders engaged in illegal conduct and that the church lacks corporate and ecclesiastical integrity – to those raised by “other disaffected Scientologists” in proceedings to determine whether the church was entitled to tax exemption in the US.

In October 1993, the IRS had determined the Churches of Scientology were non-profit organisations entitled to tax-exemption, Mr Walsh said. He added he himself was involved in those proceedings on behalf of the church and the IRS had conducted what it described as “the most extensive and detailed exemption examination in its history”.

Mr John Hennessy, for Ms Johnston, said he was not accepting the document was admissible unless the court determined it was. While he had reservations and was not accepting the content of the declaration, he was not objecting to it being read because of his client’s concern that the case advance speedily. Counsel said the document was not relevant to the issues in the case.

Later yesterday, Mr Collins resumed his cross-examination of Prof Stephen Alan Kent, who had given evidence for Ms Johnston earlier in the case.

Prof Kent said it was his view that when she joined Scientology, Ms Johnston was pressured to do so. He had tried to avoid using the term coercive persuasion because Ms Johnston was not in the context of a group for much of the time. He would say she was actively recruited. He believed she was subject to a form of coercive persuasion which eventually led to her free will being overborne.

He rejected suggestions that the theory of coercive persuasion related to joining cults had been discredited. He accepted Ms Johnston was a very intelligent person and that she read a lot of relevant material. He added that when she asked to see an article critical of Scientology, she was told she’d have to do further courses at more cost before she could do so.

Professor says Scientology church tried to isolate him

Irish Times, March 6, 2003

A professor of sociology who has written books and articles critical of the Church of Scientology and other organisations told the High Court yesterday the church was attempting to isolate him within the academic community.

Prof Stephen Kent, who is based in Canada, made the claim in the ongoing action for damages by Ms Mary Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, and who is a former member of the church.

She has sued the church and three members of its Dublin mission – Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan – for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Yesterday, during resumed cross-examination of Prof Kent, Mr Michael Collins SC, for the defendants, referred to articles written by a number of sociologists, psychologists and others dealing with the concepts of brainwashing and coercive persuasion.

Mr Collins suggested the conclusions of some of these writers were at variance with those of Prof Kent, particularly regarding the professor’s view that a person’s free will can be overborne by certain coercive persuasion techniques to such an extent they may undergo a significant personality change and truly convert to whatever ideology it may be sought to persuade them of.

Prof Kent agreed there were some differences between his views and those of some writers referred to but said he was in broad agreement with them on many issues. He said one expert had not referred to religion in discussing coercive persuasion and he believed it was vital to factor in that people are motivated for purposive rewards.

He agreed the term brainwashing can be used in two different senses, involving an element of physical force and no such physical element.

He accepted that one expert appeared to be saying that brainwashing did not produce a true change in a subject to the extent that person genuinely came to believe in the ideology they were being coerced to espouse. Much depended on the nature of the study population and how free will was defined.

He also believed there were coercive persuasion techniques capable of truly changing a person’s psychiatric status but added he would not necessarily put a time frame on this.

Mr Collins said one recognised expert had described as a myth the theory that certain techniques could result in a person’s psychiatric status being transformed from normal to pathological. Prof Kent said he believed there could be a change in psychiatric status as a result of coercive persuasion. He agreed hypnosis could be a factor but said there were other factors.

He had not taken a stand on the broader question of brainwashing techniques being applied to get people into cults as opposed to retaining them in such groups.

He was aware of situations which seemed to indicate the use of brainwashing techniques to get people into certain programmes. There were extreme cases where people could not leave cults and the cost was their lives, such as the mass suicide of followers of the Rev Jim Jones at Guyana, he said.

At one point, Prof Kent told Mr Justice Peart the defendants had put in a critique of his work in an attempt to isolate him in the academic community.

Mr Collins said Prof Kent had responded to that critique and he was indicating, in referring to certain articles, was that the professor has been the subject of criticism by reputed scholars.

Mr Collins said he had not explored the matter of whether that criticism was justified.

The hearing continues today.

http://infobrix.yellowbrix.com/pages/infobrix/Story.nsp?story_id=37150852&ID=infobrix&scategory=Business+and+Finance&amp;

Free will a crucial issue in case against Scientology, court is told

Irish Times, March 7, 2003

A fundamental issue in the legal action by a woman against the Church of Scientology is whether her free will was overborne or compromised in her decision to take up certain courses run by the church, the High Court heard yesterday.

If the court finds Ms Mary Johnston’s free will was affected, it must then decide whether that has any legal consequences entitling her to damages, Mr Michael Collins, for the church said.

The fundamental point was whether Ms Johnston’s free will was compromised to an extent that was unacceptable in law, counsel added.

His side would be arguing free will is a concept that cannot be measured.

He was clarifying his case after Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, queried the direction of Mr Collins’s cross-examination of Prof Stephen Kent, a Canadian-based sociologist who has written critically about the Church of Scientology and who has given evidence on behalf of Ms Johnston.

Mr Cush had expressed concern that Mr Collins seemed about to embark on a philosophical discussion when, Mr Cush said, Prof Kent was not a philosopher and was not addressing the free will concept in that context.

Yesterday was the 25th day of the action by Ms Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, and is a former member of the church. She has sued the church and three members of its Dublin mission – Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan – for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Yesterday, Prof Kent said he had referred to free will in the context of a sociological definition and not in the context of a philosophical discussion.

He agreed that man has a reasoning power that is unique.

Mr Collins suggested that if a person exercises that power free of direction by anyone else, that is an exercise of free will, irrespective of how complete their information is.

Prof Kent said sociologists and psychologists had identified the importance of deception as mitigating a person’s ability to make a decision.

The hearing continues today.

http://infobrix.yellowbrix.com/pages/infobrix/Story.nsp?story_id=37174880&ID=infobrix&scategory=Business+and+Finance&amp;

12/3/03

High Court urged not to inquire into Scientology

Mary Carolan

The High Court has been urged not to engage in a “wholly impermissible type of religious discrimination” by permitting an inquiry into the truth or falsity of the Church of Scientology‘s religious claims.

For the court to admit evidence from a psychologist which was critical of the practice of auditing – described as the core and single most important way in which Scientologists profess and practise their religious belief – would be akin to conducting a judicial inquiry into the legitimacy of the Sacrament of the Mass in Roman Catholicism, it was argued. This was impermissible under the constitutional guarantee of the free profession and practise of religion.

In submissions on behalf of the church, it was argued Scientology had been recognised as a religion by many governments worldwide, and must be treated the same as any other religion here.

There could not be a judicial inquiry into whether the Catholic Church was liable if a member of that church claimed to have suffered some emotional or psychological damage as a consequence of the sacraments of Benediction and Confession, it was argued.

Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, was objecting to the court hearing evidence from a psychologist, whom it sought to call on behalf of Ms Mary Johnston in her continuing action for damages.

Ms Johnston (40) is a former member of the church. She has sued the church and three members of its Dublin mission, Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan, alleging conspiracy, misrepresentation, breach of constitutional rights and negligence.

On the 27th day of the hearing yesterday, Mr Collins presented Mr Justice Peart with lengthy submissions outlining his side’s opposition to hearing evidence from the psychologist.

Mr Collins said Ms Johnston was seeking to adduce evidence which would presumably be primarily directed to the effects of auditing and whether it involved some form of hypnosis and the consequences of auditing for Ms Johnston. He argued such evidence was impermissible and unconstitutional.

Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, argued he was entitled to call the psychologist. He referred to a previous ruling by Mr Justice Peart in relation to such evidence and said Mr Collins was not entitled to reargue the point and “blur” the issue. It was for the judge to decide whether Scientology was a religion and the judge might conclude it was entirely misguided.

Mr Cush said it was Ms Johnston’s case that Scientology was a pseudo-religious cult.

Counsel said the psychologist would, among other things, outline to the court what hypnosis is and his view whether Ms Johnston was hypnotised.

Mr Justice Peart will hear further submissions today on whether the evidence is admissible.

© The Irish Times

Psychologist says church appeared to use hypnosis

Mary Carolan

A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology appeared to have been hypnotised while undergoing an auditing session by a member of the church, a psychologist told the High Court yesterday.

Ms Mary Johnston appeared to have been subjected to “very curious” and “not very good” therapy.

Dr Peter Naish, a chartered psychologist who has written extensively on hypnosis, said it was his view Ms Johnston was very susceptible to hypnosis.

He was giving evidence in the continuing action for damages taken by Ms Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, against the church and three of its members – Mr John Keane, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. She is alleging conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, concluded lengthy submissions to the effect that the court should not hear the evidence of Dr Naish. Mr Justice Peart held the evidence was admissible. To exclude it would potentially render an injustice to Ms Johnston which outweighed any possible prejudice to the defence, he said.

Beginning his evidence, Dr Naish told Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, of his qualifications, including a doctorate in experimental psychology from Oxford University. He was now engaged in research work for the British Ministry of Defence, lecturing in cognitive psychology for the Open University and providing therapy at Reading Clinic.

He had a particular interest in hypnosis and was one of the few psychologists in England with extensive experience in that area.

Dr Naish said he had no contact with Scientology prior to the case. He had heard most of Ms Johnston’s testimony and read the transcripts of the case and Scientology books and documents.

Asked about hypnosis, he said there was nothing intrinsically harmful in the practice per se. However, when it was used as a vehicle for some kind of therapy, the person using it must be able to deal with the subject’s reactions. There was a concern that if a subject became distressed, the hypnotist might retraumatise them. Not all people were susceptible to hypnosis. In his view, Ms Johnston was highly susceptible.

Mr Cush read extracts from Dianetics – The Modern Science of Mental Health, by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and also outlined extracts from Ms Johnston’s evidence to the court.

He said the extracts from Dianetics indicated that what was involved in auditing was hypnosis. It appeared hypnosis was being used as a vehicle and that material was being developed in an emotional context.

© The Irish Times

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<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>Scientology case settled out of court

<!–[if supportFields]>PRIVATE<![endif]–><!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>From:ireland.com
Friday, 14th March, 2003

The long-running action for damages by a woman against the Church of Scientology and three of its members came to a dramatic end at the High Court yesterday when the judge was told the case “appears to be settled”.

The costs of the action could amount to €2 million.

The surprise development came on the 31st day of the case taken by Dundalk-born Ms Mary Johnston, who was involved with the church from 1992 to 1994.

A chartered psychologist, Dr Peter Naish, was about to resume his evidence, which had criticised the nature of auditing sessions which Ms Johnston underwent with one of the defendants, Mr Tom Cunningham, when Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, asked Mr Justice Peart for time. Talks then got under way between the sides and at 1.20 p.m., Mr Cush told the judge that he and Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, “are delighted to tell you the case appears to be settled”.

He asked the judge to list the matter for mention on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Peart thanked the parties for the “professionalism, expertise and courtesy” shown to the court and witnesses. This had made “what has been a very difficult case for everyone more easy”.

No settlement details were disclosed to the court and neither party would comment afterwards. Ms Johnston, who attended every day of the case, said she could not comment and similar statements were made by church representatives. It is believed the settlement involves a strict confidentiality clause.

The proceedings were taken by Ms Johnston (40), who operates a sports equipment centre at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, and is a former interprovincial squash player for Leinster, against the church and Mr John Keane, described as a “mission holder”, Mr Tom Cunningham and Mr Gerard Ryan. She alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights. She also alleged deliberate infliction of emotional harm. The defendants denied the claims.

The case began last December 3rd. Ms Johnston’s case had not concluded, and the church’s case had yet to open, when the proceedings were settled.

Opening the case for Ms Johnston, Mr Seán Ryan SC claimed she suffered a personality change after she was “sucked into the grasp” of the church and subjected to mind-control techniques. He claimed she reluctantly signed up for a number of courses, including a “purification run-down” course. The starting point for her entry into the church was a personality test which, he argued, was not a proper psychological test.

He also claimed Ms Johnston was trained to resist her family and, when she tried to leave, there were efforts to silence and intimidate her and members of her family. It was alleged Ms Johnston suffered psychological and psychiatric injuries.

The court heard extensive evidence from Ms Johnston about her experience with the Scientology religion. It also heard evidence from members of her family, who told of their concerns about Ms Johnston’s involvement.

During her evidence, Ms Johnston said she began auditing sessions with Mr Cunnigham in late 1991 and these continued into 1992. She became very distressed during one session in January 1992 and had recounted an event that no one else knew about – that she had been pregnant and had had an abortion. After the auditing, issues regarding abortion were in her head all the time. It was as if she had “opened a Pandora’s box and I could not shut it”.

She said that after she underwent a Standard Oxford Capacity Analysis Test, comprised of 200 questions, Mr Keane went through it with her and basically told her she was in pretty poor shape and needed some professional Dianetic auditing. She said Mr Keane told her there would be a price. She resigned from the church in May 1994.

In cross-examination, Ms Johnston said her criticism of scientologists was based on things that had happened to her and was levelled against the individual scientologists who did what she claimed they did. She did not criticise scientologists in general.

Her issue was with the coercive and manipulative techniques devised by the founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and used in pursuit of the church’s activities, she said. Mr Hubbard had written that anyone who was antagonistic to Scientology may be tricked, sued, lied to, cheated or destroyed.

The case entered a different phase earlier this month with evidence from Prof Stephen Alan Kent, a sociologist, and, this week, from Dr Naish. Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, objected to the admissibility of evidence from those professionals.

In objecting to Dr Naish’s evidence, Mr Collins said Ms Johnston’s side were seeking to introduce evidence critical of the practice of auditing in Scientology. He said auditing was the core and single most important way in which scientologists professed and practised their religion and to allow evidence critical of it would be akin to conducting a judicial inquiry into the legitimacy of the Mass in Roman Catholicism.

In his evidence, Dr Naish said material from the book Dianetics – The Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard, and Ms Johnston’s account of her auditing experience indicated that, in Ms Johnston’s first auditing session, hypnosis was being used as a therapy. In written submissions, the church denied any use of hypnosis, trance techniques or drugs during auditing and said it disapproved of hypnosis.

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Woman’s €2m battle with Scientologists is settled

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Mary Johnston (40) of Foxrock, Dublin, who has settled her action for damages against the Church of Scientology and three of its members. Picture: Courtpix

Friday March 14th 2003

THE marathon action against the Church of Scientology and three members by a sportswoman which has so far run up costs of some €2m came to abrupt end yesterday when the High Court heard it “appears to be settled”.

Lawyers made the announcement to Mr Justice Michael Peart at lunchtime on the 31st day.

Neither side would comment on the settlement terms, believed to involve a strict confidentiality clause, and the case was put back for mention until next Tuesday.

The hearing opened on December 3 last and the plaintiff’s side was expected to go on for some weeks more. With the defence side still to come, the case could have continued until May.

Dundalk-born Mary Johnston (40), a former inter-provincial squash player with Leinster who runs a sports equipment centre at the Westwood Centre, Foxrock, Dublin, sued the church; John Keane, described as a “mission holder,” and Tom Cunningham and Gerald Ryan.

Chartered psychologist Dr Peter Naish was about to resume his evidence yesterday when the settlement talks took place. He had been critical of the nature of “auditing” sessions which Ms Johnston underwent with one of the defendants, Mr Cunningham.

Counsel Michael Cush, for Ms Johnston, asked the judge for time. Talks between the sides began and at 1.20pm Mr Cush told the judge he and barrister Michael Collins, for the church, “are delighted to tell you the case appears to be settled”.

Ms Johnston, who attended every day of the case, said she could not comment and similar statements were made by representatives of the church.

Her action was for alleged conspiracy, misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights and she also alleged deliberate infliction of emotional harm. Defendants denied the claims.

Counsel Sean Ryan, for Ms Johnston, said she suffered a personality change after being “sucked into the grasp” of the church and subjected to mind control techniques.

She reluctantly signed up for a number of courses, including a “purification rundown” course.

The starting point for her entry into the church was a personality test which, he argued, was not a proper psychological test.

He also submitted Ms Johnston was trained to resist her family and, when she tried to leave the church, there were efforts to silence and intimidate her and family members. It was alleged she suffered psychological and psychiatric injuries.

Ms Johnston said she began auditing sessions with Mr Cunningham in late 1991. She became very distressed during one in January 1992 and recounted an event no one else knew about her – that she had an abortion. After the auditing, issues regarding abortion were in her head all the time. It was as if she had “opened a Pandora’s box and I could not shut it”.

After a “standard Oxford capacity analysis test” with 200 questions Mr Keane basically told her she was in pretty poor shape, needed some “professional Dianetic auditing” and there would be “a price”.

In 1994 she resigned from the church, whose founder L Ron Hubbard said anyone antagonistic to Scientology “may be tricked, sued, lied to, cheated or destroyed”.

Mr Collins, for the church, made lengthy submissions objecting to admissibility of evidence from professionals but Mr Justice Peart ruled the evidence from both sociologist Prof Stephen Alan Kent and Dr Naish was admissible. He also declined as premature an application by Mr Collins for a finding that Scientology is a religion.

In written submissions, the church denied any use of hypnosis, trance techniques or drugs during auditing.

John Maddock

© Irish Independent
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/

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‘Church’ out to control the minds of devotees, court told

Friday March 14th 2003

MARY Johnston was not going to be denied her day in court. The 40-year-old former inter-provincial squash player had waited for years to tell her story.

During one appearance she sobbed and stumbled over her words in trying to explain how Scientologists used her abortion sorrow as a tool to hold her in their power. Asked by the judge if she would like a break, she replied: “No – I’ve waited seven years for this, I’m going to seize the moment.”

Her first steps towards suing the church for damages began in 1999 when she asked the High Court to make available to her all documents over which the Dublin mission of the church claimed sacredotal privilege.

Ms Johnston – who operates a sports equipment shop in Foxrock, Co Dublin – said she needed the documents to prepare for her action for damages against the church and three named persons, John Keane, Tom Cunningham and Gerard Ryan.

They and the church denied her claims.

When she won her application to see her counselling notes, it paved the way for her 31-day action for damages in which she claimed she underwent a personality change after being sucked into the church.

Ms Johnson said her 10-year connection with the church had left her with psychological and psychiatric injuries, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder, together with short-term memory loss.

Scientology claims 8m followers worldwide and members have included high-profile US movie stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Costner and John Travolta.

Its practices include training courses focused on aspects of people’s personality, and auditing, an amateur form of psychology which aims to get to the root of people’s perceived personal problems. Both cost money. Critics are dismissed as “suppressives”, yet its former members can also prove a thorn in Scientology’s side.

Already this year the church has agreed to pay a former US member $8.6m to resolve a lawsuit filed 22 years ago.

The official website claims Scientology “provides a way to make marriage and family life both satisfying and rewarding.

“Using Scientology principles, husbands, wives, sons and daughters alike have successfully salvaged failing relationships and created stronger and happier families, significantly bettering communication with those they care for,” it says.

But Mary Johnston cared little for those lofty ideals. She has told how she first fell under its spell, how she was constantly pursued for money, how she was encouraged to sell her business and to cut herself off from friends and family.

She has described the c hurch’s often bizarre technology and brutal training methods – and also told how she finally decided to sever all links with Scientology, often called a cult, following an emotional encounter with her sister.

She also told of “intimidation and harassment” which followed, coupled with headaches, flashbacks, dizzy spells, anxiety and sleepless nights.

It was a brave move for Mary Johnston to take on the case. She was dealing with a powerful and frequently litigious body.

Helen Bruce
and Fergus Black

© Irish Independent
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/ & http://www.unison.ie/

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