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Toronto's Scientologists unaware of dirty tricks, defence lawyer says

Title: Toronto's Scientologists unaware of dirty tricks, defence lawyer says
Date: Friday, 19 June 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Main source:

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Referring to the Church of Scientology as "this little church," defence lawyer Clayton Ruby yesterday said its Toronto members were "regular parishioners" unaware of any crimes that were committed.

In his closing address in the breach-of-trust trial of Scientology's Toronto branch, Ruby urged the 12-person jury to judge Scientology as they would their own church.

Citing recent cases of sexual abuse involving priests in the Catholic church, Ruby said: "The (Catholic) church wasn't prosecuted, only individuals.

Never has a jury been asked to convict a church for the wrongdoing of its parishioners."

The charge before the jury states that, between 1974 and 1976, five members of the Church of Scientology in Toronto got jobs with the RCMP, the OPP, Metro Police and the provincial Attorney General. The five were allegedly "plants" who used their positions on staff to obtain access to confidential files that the police were maintaining on church activities.

The charges were brought in 1983, but due to numerous delays the trial did not start until this April.

The crown is expected to present its summation to the jury today, while Judge William Southey is to charge the jury on Monday.

In his two and one-half hour address yesterday, Ruby sought first to discredit the crown's witnesses, then to establish that the Toronto chapter did not authorize and were unaware of the dirty tricks the crown alleges took place.

Ruby argued that the crown's chief witnesses are former church members who directed the these activities and were granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony.

"These witnesses successfully sold themselves to the prosecution," Ruby said.

"To find the church guilty would be to protect criminals and punish the innocent," Ruby added. "This little church did nothing wrong."