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Scientology chapter, 3 members convicted

Title: Scientology chapter, 3 members convicted
Date: Friday, 26 June 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Main source:

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The Toronto chapter of the Church of Scientology and three of its members were found guilty last night of breach of trust.

Earlier yesterday, the church and five members were acquitted on charges of theft.

Both charges stem from a series of alleged dirty tricks conducted by the church's covert intelligence-gathering body, the Guardian Office Worldwide, between 1974 and 1976.

The verdicts were delivered last night by a 12-member jury which had deliberated for two days. The trial began April 23.

It's the first time in Canada a church has been convicted of criminal charges, said its lawyer Clayton Ruby.

Between 1974 and 1976, the Guardian Offices planted 12 members as employees in the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario attorney-general's office.

During the trial the court heard that the church wanted to gain access to information that had been gathered on it.

Ruby had argued the church was a corporation and therefore could not be charged.

In addition to the church, the three individuals found guilty are Jacqueline Metz, Janice Wheeler and Donald Whitmore.

The theft charges were dismissed when the evidence against the church was ruled inadmissible by Justice James Southey.

The church has spent $7 million on its defence since l983.

The maximum sentence for an individual convicted of breach of trust is five years. There is no maximum penalty for a corporation.

Copyright 1992 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.