Jon Atack misses the point in regard to undue influence in regard to Pete Griffiths’s Defamation case


After a landmark court case, Scientology watchers should be celebrating, not sniping

Jon I read your article with interest. First it brought me back to about 21 years ago when you were in a very difficult situation and your brothers asked me to help them to set up a company here in Ireland selling your book. I was threatened by Hodgkin and we had a barrister who later became a Supreme Court Judge tell the Scientologists to put £50K into the case and we would meet them in the High Court. That was a scary item to have on ones menu and I am personally acquainted with an Irish woman who was involved in coming in a taxi past your home in East Grinstead to pass on false information as part of a sting and a honey trap. You are right that facing legal threats is very worrying. However, I think you have left a lot of information out of your analysis. Also you focus on the wrong John. I made an initial reply to JAD two weeks ago but he did not reply. I took the trouble to phone him. I picked up he genuinely did not know how to respond to what he had written. It had an air of intellectual superiority and as you say John position has hardened politically. This is what I wrote to him.

My post written to John A Duignan

John as you know I read your article about Pete and wondered how you felt so strongly about the law but failed to reach a verdict about the original event. I heard about the defamation case directly from Pete. I had agreed to appear in October 2014 as an expert witness in regard to the cult context in Ireland and by the way not Scientology. I agreed and it was very clear that this was not a Scientology case but a case of defamation involving an active Scientologist Zabrina Collins and an ex Scientologist Pete Griffiths. You and I have talked about undue influence and how it works? I am waiting in an area for the case to come up. Suddenly John McGhee appears with a number of people and they are extremely active and one is wondering what are they doing here. Pete had said he did not wish to have anyone there as it would confuse his case concerning defamation. Suddenly there is uproar and the judge asks JM to vacate the court. The whole process is derailed the case is delayed. Gradually we note that Pete himself is under influence and seems to do the opposite of what he intended. In fact you will see that a group of people were messing outside the Mission while a court case is ongoing and they are same group who showed up for a defamation case. That is an absolute no no. We all congregate at a coffee shop and it is clear they are going to start protesting. Denis Robinson and myself decide we can’t participate in this and leave. Later the group who were in the court proceed to the mission and this is what they do. They are rude and objectionable in their activities and this goes on till we reach the end of December. John you have an understanding of undue influence? What would you say happened to Pete Griffiths? He allowed John McGhee to influence him against the advice of myself, his legal team and his own self interest. Pete was even able to say he could not help himself. In fact one day on Skype I say John directing Pete to write the opposite of what he wanted to. Surely you can understand that anti cultists can be just as bad as cultists. It is clear that Zabrina has no free will and is totally under the influence of the SO. So John here is my read of the situation after the New Year 2015 when the assault and battery case is launched. We will come back to the court case and the verdict after we have looked at that video that Pete took under John’s influence.

I will then ask you to watch the video after you have replied to this segment. There is two much to take on in one reply. I will not be replying to some of the material you included on this post but I must say I agree with a lot in these comments.


In other words you gave succour to John McGhee’s strategy to totally derail Pete’s Defamation case as I describe it above. For a person who is supposed to be studying undue influence you completely missed the significance of what I reported here. I have our private correspondence and you have no legal training and totally misrepresented what was going on. You minimised the assault and battery of a woman under some vague definition of harassment.


This video was removed while the Assault and Battery case was going on. Now that Pete Griffith has had the injunction removed he has put it up again.

You said what John was doing was totally acceptable. Just look at the appalling video above which led to Jon and Pete being found guilty of assault and battery. This video is back up now as Pete has had his injunction lifted. Just before you proposed a very positive plan for a friendly method of engagement with Scientology you gave a ringing endorsement of JM’s methodology. Where did you do this? In Dublin at this “Scientology: Enough is Enough” – Dublin event in 2015 when Pete was in the courts? I suggest you start listening from 2 hours 22. mins and 28 seconds.


“In all the recent sound and fury, little attention has been paid to Pete Griffiths’ landmark achievement against active Scientologists in the Irish courts.”


Yes Jon it was an important legal event but you have actually not reported what it was. It was in fact Pete telling the court he wished to start protesting again. So to begin with he apologised to Zabrina Collins for being a party to her assault. He also agreed to never participate in such an abusive form of protesting again. This was a courageous act for someone who had been brought under undue influence by JM as I explain above. Because Pete took this principled stand the judge did go onto make the point you make about the clean hands. He has also won the costs for the case. However, the point you make is extremely important but you have clearly not reported the fact that it was consequent on his first action.

“I’m horrified (though not surprised) by the subsequent assault on Pete, given that he has gone through the trauma of three years of litigation – one of the most insidious uses of torture in our society.”

You left JM out of your assault on Pete narrative. The reason they viewed him as a traitor is that they hated that he had resisted JM’s strategy which you in 2015 gave a ringing endorsement to in a public meeting. Also he wasted 3 years in court because he allowed himself to be diverted from his defamation case by John and his visitors and ended up adding the assault and battery as part of harassment to his case. Otherwise it likely the defamation would have been over in Nov 2014.

“On the witness stand, Pete said that he has no issue with Scientology or Scientologists. I agree with his explanation of this statement: “I’m opposed to the Scientology organisation’s fraud and abuses but I see Scientologists as victims deserving of sympathy and understanding.” (And please bear in mind that he was being cross-examined and had to respond immediately with no time to consider his response.) These views echo my own: I was never opposed to Scientologists, save for the few at the top who are aware of the scam they are perpetrating. If Scientology is indeed the most effective form of behavioural modification ever devised – as both its adherents and its critics assert – then it stands to reason that we were all of us duped and thought-reformed into our compliance, and that allows for mitigation of the offences committed by Scientologists while under the spell of Scientology.”

Here I totally agree with you against JAD. He totally misrepresented Pete.

“The allegation that in his court case Pete threw John McGhee “under the bus” is silly.”

John it was JM who through his undue influence sabotaged Pete’s defamation case. So by Pete purging his contempt he immediately drew hatred from JM as he now felt betrayed.

“I did my best to explain to John that his prankster approach could easily lead to a contempt ruling and even imprisonment. He wanted to ignore the injunction, I strenuously advised him not to. Pete followed sound legal advice by distancing himself from John, whose behavior showed contempt not only for Scientology but could have been seen as contempt by the Court. Pete had a perfect right to take a more conventional approach to litigation when he could not influence John’s more confrontational style.”

My private correspondence with you and your public utterances in Feb 2015 contradict this narrative. If you changed your position and communicated them to JM privately they would have been water off a duck’s back. Only when you stand and say in public to John McGhee will anyone take your views seriously. Not only that but John would come after you too.

“Bear in mind that Pete was forced to pay damages for filming John as he grabbed those leaflets. Pete didn’t plan that action, nor did he participate in it, but he has paid for it.”

Sorry Jon Pete by allowing himself to come under the undue influence JM became part of the action. Of course he was part of it. You are quoting now from the High Court Action where the judge gave his opinion a year and a half later. Here is the court report as published last year.

“Second case Judge O’Donohoe also gave judgment in a second case in which Ms Collins, a chiropractor, of The Boulevard, Mount Eustace, Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15, and Scientologist Michael O’Donnell, a marketing consultant, of Cherrywood Lawn, Clondalkin, Dublin, sued Mr Griffiths and embalmer John McGhee, of Armstrong Grove, Clara, Co Offaly, for assault and battery. The judge said Mr McGhee had followed Ms Collins and Mr O’Donnell in Dublin as they distributed leaflets against drug-taking. He said that from a video he had seen it was very clear to him that Mr McGhee had certainly been guilty of assault. He said that Mr McGhee’s harassing of Ms Collins and the grabbing by him of leaflets constituted battery. Judge O’Donohoe told barrister Frank Beatty, counsel for Ms Collins, that his client could be heard letting out a “shrill shriek” on the video, which indicated to the court that she was worried about a battering from Mr McGhee. The judge awarded Ms Collins and Mr O’Donnell a total of €3,500 against Mr McGhee for ‘assault and battery.’ Mr Griffiths, he said, had played a lesser role by videoing the assault, but had nevertheless ‘consorted’ with Mr McGhee. For ‘harassment and assault’ he awarded Ms Collins and Mr O’Donnell €2,000 damages against Mr Griffiths. Mr Beatty and Mr O’Tuathail agreed that the question of costs could be dealt with by the court at a later date.”

“As the judge ruled, “I am satisfied that the conduct of the defendants on this occasion, and in particular the second defendant [John McGhee], was unlawful and constituted intimidation and harassment of the plaintiffs. I am also satisfied that the video demonstrates clearly that Ms. Collins was physically assaulted, albeit in a relatively minor way, by the second defendant, Mr. McGhee. There is nothing from the evidence that indicates that there was any physical contact at any time between Mr. Griffiths and either of the plaintiffs…”

This view by the appeal judge against the injunction does not change the verdict from 2016, it stands even if he weakens its impact.

“John Duignan is wrong to believe that there was no threat of imprisonment. A contempt order in a civil action can lead to a custodial sentence, so Pete was under significant pressure. John McGhee was lucky that the judge tolerated his eccentric behavior.”

Yes it can and anyone still consorting could actually find themselves subject to a criminal charge. This is not eccentric behaviour, but criminal. Fortunately, up till now there has been no major incident, but an accident is waiting to happen, and OSA must be designing it. I see no reason to comment any further as I found that personal material very unsavoury. I will leave that as I am sure JAD now regrets what he wrote. The new situation in Dublin where there is nowhere to protest opens up the way you suggested at the end of your talk in Dublin. It must be to engage in the movies being shown, the talks given and at the cafe they have opened. Strident protests will have no effect. How Pete deals with JM when he restarts his protests is going to be interesting. I have heard him say he will walk away but the Pied Piper is hard to resist.

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