Scientology's Harassment of UK Citizens

The following article appeared in the UK PRESS GAZETTE (UKPG) on 25 September:

by Nicola Methven

Its a real victory for journalists doing their job in the interest of the 
public, and a victgory against pressure groups like the Church of Scientology. 
- Alison Braund.

BIG STORY journalist Alison Braund has hailed a court victory over the Church
of Scientology as a boost to investigative journalism.
City of London magistrates dismissed private prosecutions for theft brought by 
the Scientologists against Braund, producer Claudia Milne and Twenty Twenty 
Television as an abuse of process.
An attempt to ban the programme was refused by the Attorney General (UKPG 17 
Braund said afterward: "Its a great decision. Its a real victory for 
journalists doing their job in the interest of the public, and a victory
against pressure groups like the Church of Scientology, who harass people
through the courts. I shall carry on investigating.
We did follow ITC guidelines and, for the integrity of myself, Twenty Twenty 
and Carlton, its great.

The Church had accused the programme makers of having obtained entry to two of 
its courses dishonestly, and of trespass to goods.
In May, Braund went undercover and enrolled for scientology courses in order to 
film for the programme, entitled Inside the Cult.
The court heard that the church suspected she was an undercover journalist and 
sought to entrap her by leaving documents, marked highly confidential, around. 
Braund took them and was consequently arrested for theft.
The police and Crown Prosecution Service considered the case but took no
further action.
The chairman of the magistrates, Hinda Style, said: The actions of the 
prosecution pre-empted the decision of the CPS, and the taking out of summonses 
was oppressive.
Representing the defendants, Peter Thornton said: The proceedings are tainted 
by the ulterior motives of trying to prevent the broadcast, punishing and 
embarrassing the defendants, and dissuading other journalists and programme 
makers from publishing any other material critical of the Church of 
He also submitted that dishonesty was not involved in the accepted sense. He 
told the court that the cult being secretly filmed by Braund, using a camera 
concealed in her spectacles, involved hypnotic elements, brainwashing and 
taking money.
Costs of 15,410.31 were awarded against the prosecution. The Church is 
considering appealing the magistrates decision. A Church spokesman said that
the programme was cynically calculated" and had ignored information which it
had provided.