SCIENTOLOGY HISTORY IN TORONTO, PART SEVEN
Handling the Media
By 1985 the Scientologists had a new problem. Some of the accused wanted to
plead guilty and put the problem behind them. Charges were laid
on December 1st, 1984; June 26, 1985; and December 16, 1985. On December
13, 1985, Nanna Krogh Anderson, charged jointly with the
Church of Scientology of Toronto, appeared with her counsel before Judge
L.E. DiCecco. This was 3 1/2 weeks before all accused were
scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing. Counsel for the church was
not notified by the prosecutor, but was notified by the news media one
hour before the hearing was to take place. He was unable to attend in
court, and his pleas to the prosecutor to limit publicity were rebuffed.
However, the prosecutor undertook to inform the judge of the preliminary
hearing scheduled for January 6th, 1986.
Anderson pled guilty to unlawful possession of property of a value
exceeding $200 knowing that such property had been stolen. An agreed-upon
statement of facts was presented by the Crown counsel, detailing Ms.
Anderson's membership in Scientology branches in Denmark, England, and
Toronto. In a further effort to mitigate the sentence, defending counsel
called Ms. Anderson to testify. Her examination-in-chief occupies over 30
pages of transcript, and contains extensive references to the Church of
Scientology, its organization, practices, and the manner in which Ms.
Anderson ultimately received instructions to commit the offence charged.
After the hearings, the judge observed:
"It is a serious matter, there is no doubt about it, Ms. Anderson.
However, through your testimony today, not so much what your counsel
said or what Mr. Pearson said, but your testimony today; the emotion
that you showed to me; the facts that you recounted to me, I've come
to the conclusion that sentence was passed on you much before today.
I cannot think of a heavier sentence where a mother is deprived from
being able to show her love every day to her own child. I cannot
think of any heavier sentence than where someone can be put in a
position to think that she's an unfit mother when I'm convinced
today that you're not an unfit mother but you've been a hardworking
member of this community.
Whatever you did was because of a particular situation that
developed over a period of years from when you were a teenager.
We're all aware of the influences that can be made on young minds
and the effect that those influences can have on a person throughout
Madam, I'm taking the position that you have been penalized
sufficiently. As I indicated, the matter of general deterrence, if
every person would think and realize what you have suffered, if that
is not a general deterrence, I do not know what that could be." 
The case was widely reported. For example, on CBC-TV "The National News",
10 p.m. December 13, 1985:
Vicki Russel - "It was nearly three years ago that police raided the
Church of Scientology and dragged away a quarter of a million
documents as evidence. The Church and 19 individuals were charged
with offences including theft and possession of stolen property.
Police alleged that the Scientologists got the stolen documents by
inflitrating organizations which were investigating or had
information about the Church, and today in court the first of the
accused went to trial and pleaded guilty to possesssion of stolen
property. Nanna Anderson said Church officials pressured her to
find a job in one of three places. She chose the Ontario Medical
Association, which was investigating the Church to see if it was
practicing medicine. She told the Court of the hardship she went
through in the 17 years she was involved with the Church. She said
Church members pressured her for money and expected her to put in
long hours doing volunteer work. The judge gave her an absolute
On January 3rd, 1986, a few days before the preliminary inquiry, Kathleen
Lepp, who was charged jointly with the Church of Scientology of
Toronto and with members Jacqueline Matz (AKA Baillie), Susan Leah Lemieux,
and Michael Symington on count 4 of the information [theft from
the Canadian Mental Health Association], appeared with her counsel before
Provincial Court Judge R. B. Dnieper. It was Ms. Lepp's intention,
apparently, to enter a guilty plea to the offence charged in count 4.
Counsel for the church and four of the other defendants sought leave, under
section 24(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to
make representations to the presiding judge, for an order enjoining the
counsel for the Crown and Ms. Lepp from mentioning the names of the
co-accused, or directing the media not to publish such names or other
information on their alleged role in the offence, until the trial of the
co-accused had been completed. Judge Dnieper said:
"The problem before the court is this: we have a collision between
two seperate rights. There is the right of a free press and to be
informed by it. To interfere with this is, in my view, the second
most dangerous thing that a court can do. The most dangerous is to
arrogate to itself powers which it does not possess.
I assure you, I would like to find some way out of this that will
satisfy everybody, but I do not see it. What, in fact, is happening
here is this: Crown has called the case. Other counsel have stood
to address the court. They have no status in the case of _The Queen
against Lepp_. No question of that. If the Crown had called all of
the accused, then everyone could have been spoken to at the one
time, but Crown did not do this. Crown called Miss Lepp only. The
Crown is severing the matter. It is an exercise of Miss Lepp's
right to plead guilty when she wishes.
The submissions made by learned counsel to this court are a motion.
I do not believe I have jurisdiction to hear it. ... If I had the
power to hear that motion, it is unlikely that I would make such an
order for the following reason. I have pointed out that the most
dangerous thing a court can do is to arrogate to itself a power it
has not received from the sovereign will of the people.
The second most dangerous is to interfere with free press. It would
have to be made abundantly clear that the value to free publication
is so little and the harm to someone else is so great by
publication, before I would even consider it. I do not believe that
this would be the case, anyhow.
... Accordingly, gentlemen, you have not status in the case of _The
Queen against Lepp_ and I am without the jurisdiction to hear any
motion such as made before the court.
Pray, arraign Miss Lepp." 
In consequence of this ruling, Clayton Ruby, acting for the Church of
Scientology, announced that he proposed to have the matter reviewed by the
Supreme Court of Ontario, and "took the somewhat unusual, if not
contemptuous, step of serving the learned presiding judge in open court."
Despite the protests of Crown counsel, court was then adjourned to permit
the judicial review.
On January 6th, 1986, the various accused appeared in Provincial Court for
the preliminary hearing. The presiding judge ruled that the matter
should not proceed until the judicial review was completed.
The review was held in the Ontario High Court by Judge Watt. Counsel for
Scientology contended that:
The court has the authority to make an order for a publication ban.
The publicity resulting from the Anderson conviction proved the a need
for a publication ban.
They had the right under s. 24(1) of the _Charter_ to make an
application for a media ban.
The Provincial Court was a court of competent jurisdiction in which to
make such an application.
Crown counsel acknowledged that the Provincial Court was a court of
competent jurisdiction, but argued that the remedy sought was neither
appropriate nor just in the circumstances. The Crown also contested the
standing of the applicants for the review.
The court reviewed the common law and recent decisions under the _Charter_.
It ruled that on April 28, 198, that Judge Dnieper had erred in law
in denying the co-accused status to seek the publication ban. The matter
was returned to Provincial Court, to be heard by a different judge.
Recall Judge DiCecco's words: "the matter of general deterrence, if every
person would think and realize what you have suffered, if that is not a
general deterrence, I do not know what that could be."
Publication bans and deals in which the accused promise not to mention the
role of Scientology eliminate such deterrence. To this day ,
many of the general public think that only 3 persons were convicted in the
Scientology trials. By 1988, four of the accused had pled guilty, and had
received absolute discharges.
1.Re Church of Scientology of Toronto et al. and the Queen (no. 6),
Canadian Criminal Cases vol. 27, p. 198.
2.Ibid, p. 200.
3.Ibid, p. 201.