Woman's fake beard was 'bogus'
June 26, 2008
The Daily Telegraph
THE last time Jan Hamilton failed as an actress - getting dumped from the lead in My Brilliant Career - Judy Davis got the part and became famous.
But Hamilton's latest bad performance, allegedly dressing as a man, donning a wig and fake beard and holding bogus theatre auditions, has landed her in court.
Hamilton, who with her child sex-accused husband Ken Dyers founded the Kenja cult in Sydney's north shore, yesterday fought an apprehended violence order over the alleged stunt.
A former cult member seeking the AVO said it was part of Hamilton's attempt to "terrorise" her over the suicide of Dyers, whom she had accused of sexually abusing her weekly from age 12 to 15.
Downing Centre Local Court heard how the young woman - who was born into the cult and cannot be named - turned up to the audition for Chekhov's Three Sisters at West Pymble Community Hall on October 17 last year.
The man and three women holding the auditions were disguised in dread-locked wigs and talking in phoney American accents. The women introduced themselves as "Paul", "Brandon" and "Moshi".
But Nicole Saunders, who was hired to help with the auditions and did not know the others, said within five minutes of arriving the former cult member became hysterical.
"She walked straight out the side exit," Ms Saunders recalled. "She was shaking and she was calling out to a car, 'It's Jan! Jan's here! She's wearing a moustache!"
The young woman's father was waiting in the car. Ms Saunders told the court: "She said the woman inside, her name is Jan Hamilton, her husband sexually abused her and he had suicided and they were blaming her.
"Things were not what they seemed. All these strange oddities started to fall together so that it was one big oddity. I wanted to leave."
The woman's father, a cult member for 25 years until his daughter raised the sex abuse claims, told the court he went into the hall and immediately recognised the unusual attire.
"I'd seen it before at Kenja's in the clowning classes. They use it as props and things. It wasn't a very good disguise. It looked quite silly," he said.
The former cultist told the court she had lied to school friends about her involvement in Kenja: "I told them that I was a dancer and I had to go to dancing competitions interstate every weekend. I was ashamed of being in the cult."
Kenja also forced her to sign a false statutory declaration denying the abuse, she said. The case continues.
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