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Family tries to free 'hostage' from cult

East Grinstead Courier, June 12 1997, page 3

By Francesca Parker

[Picture of three people in front of the Saint Hill main gate.
Caption: Increased security measures are in place at the Scientology
headquarters at Saint Hill. Courier photo 108136/13A]

Irish protesters forced their way into the Church of Scientology in East
Grinstead on Saturday claiming a 24-year-old man was being held against
his will.
	The family of Irishman Odhran Fortune believed he was being kept
under lock and key at the cult's headquarters at Saint Hill and had been
"brain-washed" by the Scientologists.
	Brother Diarmuid, 30, told the Courier: "We believe Odhran was
abducted by the Church of Scientology and brought to East Grinstead where
he is being kept against his will."
	On Saturday, 14 family members and friends of Mr Fortune pushed
their way into the Saint Hill headquarters before being escorted away by
	The family has now been served with a High Court injunction
restraining them from entering any Church of Scientology property.
	The move followed a silent protest outside the gates on Friday
when the family paraded banners marked "free my brother" and "set free


	They had been denied access by security guards after demanding to
see Mr Fortune, who had come into the country on June 1.
	Denying suggestions Mr Fortune was at Saint Hill, head of public
affairs Graeme Wilson said the initial confrontation had been intense.
	Mr Fortune fled his parents' home in Ireland after being allegedly
being kept under 24 hour surveillance by family members and a team of four
de-programmers, battling to "break his faith".
	He has been a member of the Church of Scientology since 1993 and
based in Denmark since 1994.
	But he claims that after spending Christmas with his family in
Ireland last year they- along with a team of four de-programmers including
Bonnie Woods of East Grinstead- subjected him to a barrage of emotional
blackmail and physical restraint to prevent him returning to Denmark.
	In a statement Mr Fortune said: "For the past five months I have
been kept under constant guard by family members and friends. They took my
passport away. I have been physically restrained and they used blackmail
when I wished to leave."
	He added: "I did not want to get my family into trouble and there
was never any opportunity to get away without being stopped."
	He is reported to have told friends he wanted to repair relations
with his family, with whom he met on Friday afternoon.
	Mr Wilson, who helped Mr Fortune escape to England, said talks
between the family broke down after they refused to accept Mr Fortune had
the right to choose his own religion.
	He told the Courier: "It's very odd that a family should go to
this extreme to get someone to change their mind about being a
	Bonnie Woods said: "I have advised the Fortune family and I will
continue to provide them with support and guidance for as long as they ask
me to."

Cult takes out family writs

The Church of Scientology has issued High Court writs against five people
from the same family.
	The cult is seeking to ban the five from coming within 200 metres
of its Saint Hill headquarters, or any other buildings belonging to it.
	It is also seeking up to UKP10,000 damages for trespass. It has
taken the action under the title of the Church of Scientology Religious
Education College Inc. and gives its address as 6 Portland road, East
	The Fortune family have been seeking to "rescue" Odhran Fortune
who they claim has been "brainwashed" by the cult (see story above).
	The defendants are: James Fortune (known as Joe Fortune), sued on
his own behalf and on behalf of all accompanying friends and relatives
participating in the protest regarding Odhran Fortune other than the named
defendant, of [address removed in case the family do not want it on the
'net- MLP]; Anne Fortune, Diarmuid Fortune and Damien Fortune of the same
address; and Denyse fortune, whose address is [address removed for similar


The complete statement of claim contained in the writ reads:
	"The plaintiff's claim is for an injunction to restrain the
defendants whether by themselves, their servants or agents or otherwise
howsoever form entering upon or coming with 200 metres of the plaintiff's
premises at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex; or entering
upon any other premises belonging to or occupied by the plaintiff, and for
damages limited to UKP10,000 for trespass on the plaitiff's said premises
at Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, West Sussex on Saturday June 7 1997;
and for interest pursuant to section 35A of the Supreme Court Act 1981 at
such a rate and for such a period as the Court shall think fit."

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