A psychiatric report tendered to Bankstown Local Court on Monday revealed a 25-year-old woman accused of killing her sister and father and seriously injuring her mother had been denied access to drugs because of her family’s Scientology views.
Australian Church of Scientology vice-president Cyrus Brooks described the organisation’s link to the killings as a “red herring“.
“The woman was actually under the drugs, she was on drugs at the time of the incident. She was also under the care of a psychiatrist . . . since January,” he told ABC radio.
“The records show she was on psychiatric drugs, so to say it had something to do with us, then I think it’s incredibly defamatory and unfair.”
– Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted atWhat judges have to say about Scientology
Sydney University psychiatrist Chris Tennant phoned ABC talkback shortly after hearing Mr Brooks’ claims, saying it was “so sad to hear the flat-earthers getting on the radio”. [MP3 audio of the show]
“It’s a tragedy to hear this mumbo jumbo being proselytised by this group,” he said.
“The sad thing is this girl may have been prescribed some psychiatric treatment, but living in a family that had a Scientology attitude there is no way there would have been any compliance.”
Brain and Mind Institute executive director Ian Hickey also argued modern psychiatry had a proven history of assisting patients suffering mental illness.
“In one sense, any genuine church would stick to the issue of spiritual beliefs,” he said. “People say these things as if they have no consequences. There’s no doubt now that the widespread treatment of depression and psychosis has saved a great many lives.”
Professor Hickey urged the families of those seeking mental health treatment to disregard Scientologists’ views.
“We need to roundly condemn those who trade on ignorance and fear and prejudice and who continue to promote the stigma that is traditionally associated with people who have a mental illness,” he said.
“The Church of Scientology will come to be seen as something that belongs to a past century and that has tried to bring religious beliefs, inappropriately, into the world of science – that has dangers for people who take it literally,” Professor Hickey said.