Author and diplomat in war of emails
A war of offensive emails involving an English author, an American diplomat and the woman one married and the other is now engaged to was reviewed in the District Court.
Before the court charged with harassment/stalking was retired UN diplomat Richard Forrest (63) of Camblin Lodge, New Ross. He admitted sending 18 unpleasant emails using a pseudonym to writer Roger Bishop once of Fisherman’s Lodge in Rosslare Harbour but now resident in West Clare.
The accused man’s defence was that his actions were prompted by the emails being sent to Elena Averina, now his fiancée.
Bishop, author of a novel called ‘Unholy Orders’, gave evidence recalling that he the book was published in 2013.
Early the following year, he began receiving emails on Gmail which amounted to a campaign of harassment and what he called fully fledged stalking.
They purported to be written by someone calling himself Thomas Adams and they included a picture of his house.
One message suggested that he had been in prison and another that he had a homosexual affair.
An email arrived telling Bishop he looked like s*** and hoping that he had cancer.
It was, he recalled a very harrowing time and he moved away from Rosslare to Lissycasey in Clare in 2014 but further emails were received there.
He said he did not know any Thomas Adams but deduced from the contents that whoever sent them was connected with his estranged wife Elena.
A man matching Forrest’s description was seen taking a photograph of Fisherman’s Lodge, said Bishop.
The complainant was cross-examined by a barrister who showed the court copies of email sent by Bishop to Ms Averina.
Counsel quoted a passage ‘I can make your life hell’ and threats to report her to immigration officials with a view to having her deported.
Bishop suggested that his wife only married him in order to gain EU residency.
The barrister argued that he (Bishop) fired the first shot in the exchange of emails and she felt that her client’s actions were more juvenile and foolish than threatening – ‘somewhat understandable, if foolish’. In her evidence, Ms Averina reckoned that, at one stage, the messages from her spouse were being dispatched to her at a rate of five a day, though she never replied.
All communication in either direction ceased after family law proceedings in the Circuit Court in mid-2014.
Judge Gerard Haughton felt that any reasonable person would be put in fear by an anonymous correspondent acting in the manner described and he found the case proven.
The court learned that Richard Forrest was a citizen of the United States who had worked with distinction as a UN diplomat, moving to Ireland in retirement.
The judge pointed out that at least Roger Bishop signed his emails though the court was not amused by the contents, which he described as outrageous.
The court did not appreciate that Ms Averina had been called a ‘duplicitous whore’ in one.
In such circumstances, he decided that the prosecution would be struck out once Forrest made a €1,000 contribution to a women’s refuge. The defendant indicated that this would not be a problem and he was allowed until April 4 to come up with the money.