Appeal against scientologist's prison sentence

An appeal has been lodged against a 90-day prison sentence handed down to a member of the Church of Scientology for verbally abusing an autism campaigner over the phone.

Appeal against scientologist's prison sentence

An appeal has been lodged against a 90-day prison sentence handed down to a member of the Church of Scientology for verbally abusing an autism campaigner over the phone.

Nathan Moore, 22, with an address at 1 Allenton Park in Tallaght, Dublin, had last week denied the charge under Section 13 (1) (a) and section 13 (2) (a) of the Post Office (Amendments) Act 1951, relating to the alleged call made on December 4, 2017.

The call was made to Fiona O'Leary, an autism campaigner, who had recorded the exchange. The audio was played in court and in it Mr Moore, who was then aged 20, was heard identifying himself before referring to Ms O'Leary as a “spastic geebag” and adding he would “box her up and down”.

At Bantry District Court last week Judge James McNulty heard that Ms O’Leary had first contacted the centre in Firhouse in Tallaght and gave the name 'Chloe Smith', as she had been concerned about Scientology involvement in an upcoming funfair and wanted to find out more.

She told the judge that Mr Moore rang her back while she was at home.

Mr Moore said he had only been working at the Scientology Centre in Tallaght for four weeks by the time of the telephone exchange, had found the initial 20-minute exchange with Ms O'Leary, calling as Ms Smith, odd and "like an interrogation", and admitted losing his temper when he rang her back.

Last week Judge McNulty said the Church of Scientology had had a duty of care to Mr Moore, who had no previous convictions.

He convicted Mr Moore and imposed a penalty of 90 days in prison, but said he would consider suspending the sentence if Mr Moore keeps the peace for two years and if the Church of Scientology gave an assurance it would pay €10,000 to the Irish Society for Autism to assist it in their work.

Mr Moore's solicitor, Diarmuid Kelleher, submitted that this was outside the court's jurisdiction and that Mr Moore has no control over his employers.

The judge gave Mr Moore time to lodge an appeal, which was done today at Bandon District Court.

The appeal on behalf of Mr Moore was lodged by Mr Kelleher against both the conviction and the sentence and was granted on his own bond of €100 and one independent surety of €5,000, €1,000 in cash.

The appeal is likely to be heard on March 19 next.

More in this section