Scientology intimidation and defamation cases merged

Allegations of intimidation and counter-proceedings of alleged defamation involving existing and former members of the Church of Scientology were yesterday linked for a single hearing by a judge.

Scientology intimidation and defamation cases merged

Judge Jacqueline Linnane told Zabrina Collins and Michael O’Donnell that injunctions restraining former members Peter Griffiths and John McGhee from assaulting, intimidating, or interfering with them would remain in place until a full trial of both cases.

Mr Griffiths, of Ballina, Co Mayo, is suing Ms Collins, of Parnell Square West, Dublin, for defamation.

In a vacation sitting in December, the High Court granted Collins and O’Donnell, a marketing consultant of Cherrywood Lawn, Clondalkin, Dublin, injunctions restraining Mr Griffiths and Mr McGhee, of Armstrong Grove, Clara, Co Offaly. It also referred all matters to the Circuit Civil Court.

Barrister Frank Beatty, told the High Court hearing his clients had been harassed and assaulted by Mr Griffiths and Mr McGhee.

“My clients are scared and frightened and they should be,” Mr Beatty told the High Court. He said Ms Collins had been intimidated by the men outside the Church of Scientology premises in Middle Abbey St, Dublin.

John Smith, who appeared with solicitor Cormac O’Callaigh for Mr Griffiths, told the court his client denied the allegations against him. He said Mr McGhee represented himself.

When Judge Linnane advised all parties to engage in talks to avoid mounting legal costs, Mr McGhee said Ms Collins and Mr O’Donnell belonged to a sect which forbade them from having talks with people outside the Church.

Mr Beatty said there was no basis for this claim.

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