Church science 'basically rubbish', says doctor

The science behind the Church of Scientology was "basically rubbish," a doctor told the High Court yesterday.

Irish Times/February 7, 2003

Dr John Fleetwood, a general practitioner in the Blackrock/ Monkstown area of Dublin, told the court Ms Mary Johnnston, who operates a sports equipment shop at Westwood, Foxrock, Dublin, had attended him on October 29th, 1994. She was anxious and distressed.

Giving evidence in the continuing action by Ms Johnston (40), against the church and three members of its Dublin Mission, Dr Fleetwood said Ms Johnston was generally quite healthy but complained of a lot of headaches.

She was an ex-member of the Church of Scientology and he came to the conclusion that most of her problems were caused by membership of the church. There was nothing to indicate anything else. She was agitated and stressed in general.

He saw Ms Johnston again on November 15th 1994 and gave her some mild headache tablets. He held the same conclusion that day as to the cause of her headaches.

Cross-examined by Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, he said Ms Johnston told him she was trying to leave the church and was under considerable pressure. She had also told him she was engaged in protests outside the church and was contemplating suing it.

Dr Fleetwood said he believed some of the church's programmes were a "sham" and he had no doubt her involvement in the church was instrumental in causing her stress and anxiety. He said the church did not let its adherents go without a fight. Ms Johnston's main problem was major headaches.

When it was suggested under further cross-examination that the founder of the church, Mr Ron Hubbard, claimed to be the son of God, Dr Fleetwood objected. He said the dianetics programme had been shown time and time again to be a sham.

The case continues today.

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