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Scientology black PR regarding The Latey Decision.

(Sent as an attachment to this 12-10-2002 e-mail from OSA operative.)



Latey Decision

FALSEHOOD: SCIENTOLOGY IS CORRUPT, SINISTER AND DANGEROUS (from Justice John Latey's 1984 decision in Re: B and G, Wards)This falsehood comes from comments made about Scientology by Justice John Latey of the English High Court in June of 1984 in a case captioned Re: B and G, Wards. This was a custody case involving two pre-teenage children, which based its finding against the father exclusively on the fact that he was a member of the Church of Scientology. In fact, Justice Latey admitted that but for the fact of his membership in the Church the father was the better parent and better choice to raise the children. Nonetheless he awarded custody to the mother, because of the "Scientology factor."A fair reading of that decision would lead one to believe that the Scientology issue had been vigorously litigated by both sides and Justice Latey's ruling was based on a full record on the subject. In fact, this trial was a domestic dispute over the custody of two minor children. The mother was not a Scientologist and the father was. The children had been in the custody of the father for five years of the divorce and the mother was suing to custody. The attorneys for the mother saw a way to prejudice the Court against the father by bombarding him with inflammatory allegations about Scientology, which Justice Latey allowed them to do while the Church was precluded from the proceedings and not allowed to defend itself. The father's case focused on his qualities and record as a parent. In short, Scientology was blind-sided and was not defended, resulting in a decision that is simply wrong.

This decision by Justice Latey is the perfect example of what happens when false "expert testimony" is presented in an unrestrained fashion and the party to whom it is directed is not present to be able to rebut. What began as a family law case involving the custody of two children, ages 8 years and 10 years was catapulted into an unbridled attack on the religion of Scientology. At no time during the trial proceedings was the Church represented by a single lawyer and thus could not defend itself.Due to the Church being unrepresented at trial, counsel for the mother was able to get into evidence testimony from two so-called "expert witnesses" who truly were anything other than experts on the Scientology religion. One of them was a failed staff member who never did achieve the ethical standards of the group that he had earlier been accepted into and the other was a psychiatrist who had never set foot in a Scientology Church nor received one minute of counseling.

One of these "experts" was Gerald Armstrong. Armstrong worked for the Church as a clerk. He left suddenly in December of 1981, stealing thousands of pages of private documents belonging to L. Ron Hubbard. The Church was ultimately able to get the documents back, but not after years of litigation.

A few months after his June 1984 testimony in the UK, he hatched a plot to seize the Church's assets in collaboration with agents of the Internal Revenue Service. When the Church found out about this, its attorneys obtained permission from a Los Angeles police officer to conduct an investigation into Armstrong's plans. The investigation caught Armstrong on videotape stating that he intended to forge and then plant incriminating documents on Church premises, to be discovered in a subsequent raid. When challenged on how he would obtain proof of the allegations he intended to make, he responded that "we don't have to prove a goddamn thing. We don't have to prove shit. We just have to allege it."

As part of the same scheme, Armstrong planned to subvert a senior Scientology executive using sexual enticement in a scheme he titled "Operation Long Prong." This is documented both on video and in his own handwriting. Attached is his handwritten note as well as the transcript from the video.

Gerald Armstrong currently lives in Canada, having fled the United States because there is a warrant out for his arrest. He has been ordered to pay $650,000 to the Church and held in contempt twice for repeatedly contravening court orders concerning making outlandish statements to the media about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. He has 14 separate counts of contempt -- 28 days in jail and a $10,000 bond held over his head. If he returns to California, he will be arrested and have to serve his time.

Armstrong recently posted a message on the Internet concerning a letter he sent to Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War. In the letter, he offered himself to Hussein as a hostage in the Iraqi war. "If either side failed to perform any part of the agreement, the other side could execute me," he concluded. Armstrong makes clear in his posting that he did not think the letter to Hussein was a joke. He is deadly serious, and quite proudly republishes it and other similar writings.

To further demonstrate how out of touch he is with reality, Armstrong had himself photographed by a newspaper naked in a newspaper while holding a globe to promote his theories of destroying all money.

The other "expert" was Dr. John Clark, a psychologist who had never set foot in a Scientology church, had not studied Scientology and had certainly never received any Scientology counseling. Clark is noted for his unique theory that religious belief or conviction is a form of mental illness and he was in fact looking for the chemical or abnormal brain cells which caused this. Clark's livelihood was supplemented by his activities as a hired "deprogrammer" -- which involves kidnapping, physical restraint, food and sleep deprivation in order to persuade someone to renounce their religious beliefs and affiliations. Clark did not confine his disdain for religion to Scientology and probably would have given equally poisoned testimony concerning the Catholic, Protestant or Jewish faiths.

Justice Latey very clearly overstepped his bounds in trying to put the Scientology religion on trial within a child custody dispute. This was recognized by the Court of Appeal which reviewed the Latey decision. That Court found that "it was unnecessary for the judge to have gone into the detail which he did . . ." Lord Justice Purchas commented, "It may not have been strictly necessary for Latey to have made definitive findings on collateral matters in the way that he did and in the terms that he did. . . ." Justice Latey's prejudice against Scientology became so pronounced that even when he observed positive factors he transformed them into negative findings. His conclusion that the children should not stay with the father even though but for the "Scientology factor" it would be in their best interests, is one example.

In another example, Justice Latey characterized the testimony of a young man called by the father to testify to the workability of Scientology as "a sad episode." "This young man," Justice Latey observed, "was greatly gifted and did exceptionally well at school and university." He had completed several Scientology study courses, which had clearly contributed to his success. Justice Latey, however, turned the evidence on its head, finding that what it showed was someone incapable of criticizing Scientology. When the case went to the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Purchas commented, "with respect to the learned judge I cannot wholly follow his judgment in relation to this witness" The British press was alarmed by the authoritarian nature of Justice Latey's judgment. One headline stated that, "His Lordship Plays God"

It is empirically true that a good way to judge something is by examining its result. That is the tangible, evident product of what was decided upon and done. In this instance a judge ordered that the two children who were the subject of this case be removed from their father's house and turned over to their mother. This overturned a custody arrangement that had been in place for close to 6 years. The premise for this change was exclusively the false evidence given by false witnesses at a trial where the accused could not defend itself. The result of this was a disaster. The son, who is now an adult, became a teenage drug addict while in the custody of his mother.

To illustrate the sickest irony of the whole situation, it was the children's mother who, three years later, requested that their son go back to England and live with his father as she was unable to handle him. Shortly after that the mother again contacted the father and requested that she send their daughter to him in England as the daughter had been getting into all sorts of trouble. So while the natural laws shone through, the legal decision, out-dated, wrong and the cause of untold unhappiness can and does get used as a vehicle to ridicule a religion.

Finally, the unfairness of relying on Justice Latey's bigoted statements is emphasized by the fact that the ruling is not consistent with the current views about Scientology by the English High Court. In September 1998 a judgment was issued in another British custody case involving a Scientologist (S.M.) and his two children, in which the judge came to the opposite conclusion concerning Scientology. Here, the court made it clear that the beliefs of the Scientologist had nothing to do with the case and that the Scientologist was entitled to have his own religious belief and that this had no bearing on the matter of custody.



See also:

Latey Judgment 07-23-1984
Latey Appeal:



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