[Preceding: Scientology charged with 12 counts of theft and breach of
I'm going to skip ahead to the trial on the 12 charges of the indictment,
for two reasons: first, it is only fair to the persons declared not guilty,
second, the verdicts refer to the charges, so they should be in proximity.
The 11 defendants were committed for trial in 1990, but due to extensive
legal arguments, the trial only began in April, 1992. For example, the
defence objected because the jury was selected by computer. They said the
juror ballots should be scrambled and chosen by hand. The judge
ruled that a computer is a modern ballot box (that is, a container from
which juror ballots are selected). The defence objected because there were
no veterinarians on the jury. And so on.
All accused pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The trial lasted two months. With adjournments, it ended on June 25th,
1992. The most important ruling during the trial concerned the evidence to
be used in support of the charges of theft of documents. Mr. Justice James
Southey ruled that all of this evidence was protected as "confessional
materials". The prosecution is appealing this ruling. Following Judge
Southey's ruling, the prosecutor told the jury there was insufficient
make a case, so there was a directed verdict of not guilty on the theft
On the breach of trust charges, the defense admitted the spying, but
claimed that it had been done without the knowledge of church officials by
former members of the church who were testifying for the Crown (i.e. the
prosecution) in exchange for immunity from prosecution. In addition to
these witnesses, the trial heard from a female Ontario Provincial Police
officer who had worked undercover for three years as a Scientologist,
partly in the Guardian's Office. This undercover operation began after
Ontario Government papers were found by the FBI in its raid on the
Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles.
NOT GUILTY VERDICTS
On charges numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10, there was a directed
verdict of not guilty, due to inadmissibility of evidence. These
are the theft charges.
The Church of Scientology of Toronto was found not guilty on charges
#6 (breach of trust, O.P.P.), #9 (breach of trust, Toronto Police),
and #12 (breach of trust, R.C.M.P.).
Jaqueline Matz was found not guilty on charges #6 and #9.
Marilyn Linda Belaire was found not guilty on charge #9.
Jaan Joot was found not guilty on charge #11 (breach of trust,
Attorney General of Ontario).
The Church of Scientology of Toronto was found guilty on charges
#7 (breach of trust, O.P.P.), and #11 (breach of trust, Attorney
Jaqueline Matz was found guilty on charges #7 and #11.
Janice Wheeler was found guilty on charge #11.
Wheeler had sent copies of secret documents from the office of the
Attorney General of Ontario to the Guardian's Office, and allowed a
member of that office to go through ministry files in an
unsuccessful attempt to find a file on Scientology.
Donald Bryan Whitmore was found guilty on charge #12 (R.C.M.P.).
Whitmore was a Scientology plant who memorized information from
Sentences were pronounced on September 11th, 1992.
The Church of Scientology of Toronto was fined $100,000 on count #7,
and $150,000 on count #11.
Jaqueline Matz was fined $2500 on count #7 and $2500 on count #11,
with 60 days imprisonment if she defaults.
Janice Wheeler was fined $2000 or 30 days on count #11.
Donald Bryan Whitmore was fined $2000 on count #12.
The Church of Scientology of Toronto had statements documents to the court
showing that its liabilities exceed its assets, and argued that it should
receive only a nominal fine. Judge Southey rejected this argument, and also
rejected a prosecution request that the fine be at least $1 million. He
suggested that since the "mother" church in California had contributed to
the $7 million cost of fighting the criminal charges through interest-free
loans, they could pay a portion of the fine. He noted that the Church in
Toronto is governed by three appointed directors, over whom the 7,000
parishoners have no control.
The judge rejected the contention that the church had shown remorse for its
role, and suggested that in reality there was a continuing attempt to
blame individuals within the church for illegal activities that had been
carried out at the direction of senior Scientology officials. Meanwhile,
the court, church officials distributed pre-printed statements declaring
the sentence "an outrage and miscarriage of justice."
Judge Southey also said he was satisfied that the British-based Guardian's
Office World Wide was "subject to the control of founder L. Ron
Hubbard and his wife, Mary Sue Hubbard. He said that a heavy fine was
necessary to deter any organization from placing "plants" in
Both Prosecution and Defence are appealing.
In reporting on the sentencing, I have liberally paraphrased from an
article in the Toronto Globe and Mail by Thomas Claridge: "Church of
Scientology fined $250,000 for espionage" (Sept. 12, 1992, page 1).