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Stall police, destroy evidence is Scientology plan, PCs say

Title: Stall police, destroy evidence is Scientology plan, PCs say
Date: Friday, 11 March 1983
Publisher: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Author: Kevin Cox
Main source:

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Officials of the Church of Scientology have a system to destroy evidence and stall any police search at their headquarters in Toronto, says a statement by Attorney-General Roy McMurtry and Solicitor-General George Taylor.

The actions of the 100 Ontario Provincial Police officers who raided the church's headquarters on Yonge Street on March 3 with sledge hammers and fire extinguishers were defended in the statement, which accuses church officials and lawyers of spreading misinformation about the raid.

The allegations about a system to destroy evidence were angrily denied by church president last night.

No charges have been laid after the raid, which police say was conducted as part of a two-year investigation into tax exemptions and the cost of courses at the church.

Mrs. Charbonneau said in an interview that police and the two Cabinet ministers responsible for the raid have "selectively grab-bagged information about Scientology to slide around the Charter of Rights and Freedoms." The ministers' statement says that five months of extensive preparation and planning went into the raid, where over 250,000 documents were seized. About 76 of those were ordered sealed by Mr. Justice Allen Linden of the Ontario Supreme Court earlier this week because they may be privileged under the freedom-of-religion clauses of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The statement says that the Scientologists had conducted drills and had written instructions and a warning system to alert officials about what to do in the event of a police search and how to stall it.

It also says that the centre had written instructions on how to dispose of sensitive or "Z" materials by shredding or vetting the documents.

Police believe the "Z" materials are the equivalent of sensitive "Red Box" materials in the United States, which were in portable files which could be quickly removed.

The church guardian's office, a special area set aside for those church members who shield church leaders from external attack, was fortified by steel doors, locked doors, a buzz code system and had shredders, according to the statement.

The statement adds that six locked doors on the third floor of the Scientology building were "forced open by police to prevent obstruction or the destruction of evidence through movement of files and operation of shredders. The building was otherwise undamaged." Mrs. Charbonneau said the church only has one "small, antiquated" shredder and has no written instructions or warning system about police raids. She added that Scientology members are told to co-operate with police in the event of a search.

Mrs. Charbonneau said the steel doors to the guardian's office were never locked and were merely fire exits and the only door that was smashed by officers was plate glass.

The statement by the two Cabinet ministers also accuses Clayton Ruby, the lawyer acting for Scientology, of spreading misinformation about the provincial policy towards search warrants.

Mr. Ruby had stated that Judge Linden had ruled that the Attorney-General's office was acting "unlawfully" in refusing to allow law enforcement officers to let him see the search warrant and the 1,000 pages of supporting information used in the raid.

The statement says that Judge Linden didn't say the province had acted "unlawfully" and that the Attorney-General and Crown law officers have not instructed police officers not to show citizens search warrants.

But Mr. Ruby said last night that he was not allowed to see the search warrant the day after the raid and that until Judge Linden's decision, Mr. McMurtry's ministry had instructed Justices of the Peace not to allow anyone to see the warrants. "It's more than just playing with words," Mr. Ruby said. "That's just the kind of cheap statement you'd expect from a politician who's embarrassed."