A former member of the Church of Scientology was warned by an Irish judge on Thursday that he would face serious consequences if he interfered with any member or did not stay away from the church or mission.
Embalmer John McGhee was given the warning by Judge James O’Donohoe in the Circuit Civil Court after being told by barrister Frank Beatty, counsel for two church members, that Mr McGhee had breached an existing court injunction.
McGhee, of Armstrong Grove, Clara, Co Offaly, told Mr Beatty that he had sent leading Scientology Church member Zabrina Collins a text “connected with the death of Jim Carrey’s girlfriend” in which he had stated: ‘Now you must see why your cult must be stopped.’
He also agreed with Mr Beatty that he had attended the Church on New Year’s Eve and had sent Ms Collins a Christmas card “because she was still on my mailing list.”
When asked by Judge O’Donohoe why the Church had not gone back to court about the breaches of the court injunction, Mr Beatty said: “There is a bit of a circus associated with court appearances and the Church has to perform a balancing act with regard to appearing in court.”
McGhee, a father of two, and Peter Griffiths, of Cual Gara, Teeling Street, Ballina, Co Mayo, have been sued by Zabrina Collins and fellow church member Michael O’Donnell for assault while they distributed anti drugs literature in Capel Street in December 2014.
Both men denied having assaulted Ms Collins, of The Boulevard, Mount Eustace, Tyrrelstown, Dublin, and Mr O’Donnell, a marketing consultant, of Cherrywood Lawn, Clondalkin, Dublin.
Mr McGhee, who represented himself, when told by Judge O’Donohoe it was possible to assault someone without physically touching them and by putting them in fear, said he would not have done what was alleged against him had he known this.
Judge O’Donohue told Mr Seamus O Tuithaill SC, who appeared with barrister John Smith and solicitor Cormac O’Ceallaigh for Griffiths, that he accepted their client had not breached the existing court injunction but he was “not so sure about Mr McGhee.”
Collins and O’Donnell told the court that McGhee had assaulted them while they attempted to deliver anti-drugs leaflets to shops in the Capel Street area. Both said they had been put in fear of both McGhee and Griffiths who had videoed the “protest” with a chest camera.
Judge O’Donohue, continuing the injunction until he has given his reserved judgment, told McGhee not to have any further contact with the Church, its members or lawyers, pending further order of the court.
The judge had already heard a defamation claim by Griffiths against Collins in relation to an e-mail she admitted sending to the principal of St David's CBS in Artane, Dublin, following a talk on cults that Mr Griffiths had given to leaving cert boys at the school.
Judgment was reserved in both cases.