Cult chief says he fears plot by police

The Advertiser, Australia/July 4, 2012

Cultist Rocco Leo fled Australia because of death threats and a corrupt police conspiracy to ruin his reputation, court documents claim.

The District Court heard yesterday Leo was seeking to challenge orders that he refund a former Agape Ministries parishioner.

Leo and his inner circle were ordered to pay Sylvia Melchiorre $420,000 because neither he nor his lawyers appeared in court last month.

Ms Melchiorre, who has profound disabilities, claimed Leo duped her into donating her life savings in return for promises he would heal her and protect her from Armageddon.

Judge Peter Brebner said yesterday Leo's group had emailed the court from Suva, Fiji, asking the judgment be set aside.

"They state they cannot afford representation ... and fled the jurisdiction because they are in fear for their lives," he said.

"They state they have been threatened and that police inaction has contributed to their fears.

"They assert corrupt police officers are parties to the common purpose of ruining their reputations."

Judge Brebner said those matters were not relevant considerations.

"Much of what is in the affidavits is, in reality, so inherently implausible that it cannot be accepted," he said.

He dismissed the application.

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