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Woman critical of church’s ‘manipulative’ techniques • Saturday December 14, 2002

Irish Times (Ireland), Dec. 13, 2002

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 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.

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