Thursday, 8 October 2009

27 ...for the remaining Plaintiffs

June 15: Unscrupulous organisations can gain a psychological hold on people, argued the lawyer for the plaintiffs -- and Scientology is a past master at the art.

Maître Olivier Morice, the lawyer for the plaintiffs, was next to put his case.

And in a detailed summing up he drew on hitherto undisclosed details of the investigation, as well as Scientology’s own internal documents, to paint a damning picture of the organisation.

A lawyer specialising in the issue of cults, Morice had had plenty of run-ins with Scientology – and their lawyers – in the past. In fact, several bad-tempered exchanges with the defence lawyers during the trial had left the impression that the antipathy between the two sides went further than the usual professional rivalry.

Now Morice got his chance to set out the case for the two remaining plaintiffs, Aude-Claire Malton and Nelly Reziga.

Although case did have a certain singularity, said Morice, he could not help but think of other, similar cases.

He cited something called instinctotherapy, which prescribed a diet of raw food to cure illnesses, a philosophy that had led to its founder being convicted of practising medicine without a licence.[1]

“We see a certain number of witnesses who have come to explain the solid basis of this philosophy, developed by a man with a talent for presentation,” said Morice. “And they did not see why the courts would take an interest.”

The current trial and the investigation that preceded it, had seen a similar phenomenon, said Morice. “Throughout this case the investigating magistrates were confronted with systematic obstruction.”

Morice recalled the various obstacles that had been placed in the way of investigators.

“They challenged the way the (investigative) hearings went ahead, they requested that the investigation be cancelled,” he said.

They had even attacked one of the investigating magistrate involved in the case, questioning her partiality and making a legal bid to have her taken off the case, suggesting she had no idea what he was dealing with, that he was “judging their religion”.

That requested had been rejected by the Paris court of appeal, which had fined those behind the move.[2]

Morice rejected the Scientologists’ argument that the investigation, and the trial itself, constituted an attack on their religion.

“This is not happening in this case,” he said, echoing Judge Sophie-Hélène Château’s repeated reminders that the court was not interested in judging whether or not Scientology was a religion.

This was a trial for fraud and the illegal practice of pharmacy, Morice reminded the court.

The reason he was going over this again, he said, was because of the constant attacks that had been made against his other client, UNADFI, the French federation of counter-cult groups.

Only a few days earlier, the Scientology magazine Ethique et Liberté had published another over-the-top attack, he said.[3]

This magazine had already been ordered by a court to pay damages to UNADFI for a previous attack, said Morice. They had renewed their attack, he said, because things did not appear to be going their way in court.

So far as he and his clients were concerned however, he said: “We have confidence in justice, despite the efforts to put pressure on the court.”

Scientology, said Morice, had unleashed a carefully orchestrated media campaign in the run-up to the trial, making much of the fact that the prosecutors’ office had originally recommended that there was insufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.

Scientology’s media and political lobbying was one thing however: how it drew in potential members was quite another. Morice moved on to set out the process that he believed the movement used to influence new recruits.

For Morice, the process had three stages: seduction, persuasion and fascination. The initial recruitment process undermined one’s intellectual faculties, the better to emotionally engage the newcomer.

And recruitment was active process, said Morice, for it was rare that a potential member simply turned up on his or her own initiative. The movement’s recruiters went out looking for people.

Finding the ruin: Aubry’s experience

Once the recruiter had someone’s interest, they had to persuade them of the credibility of what Scientology had to offer, said Morice.

But at some point, said Morice, persusasion would become mystification, belief in the system would become an article of faith – and the subsequent fascination with the group was the magic element that allowed the real indoctrination to begin.

Referring to court documents, Morice reminded the court of the account that former plaintiff Eric Aubry had given to investigators of how he had been recruited. Aubry had visited a big yellow bus promoting Dianetics that visited his neighbourhood during a promotional tour.

The Scientologist who had sold him his copy of Dianetics had told him to go to the Paris Celebrity Centre and mention his name. It was only later that he found out that his recruiter would be paid a percentage of the money he subsequently spent on Scientology.

Morice stressed another point regarding the Scientologist who had recruited Aubry: “At no point did he mention the word ‘religious’.”

And Aubry himself had told investigators: “I found nothing spiritual or religious in the auditing that I followed…”

Then there was the concept of “ruin” in Scientology recruitment, said Morice.

Earlier in the trial, former Scientologist Roger Gonnet had explained that an important part of Scientology’s recruitment process was to “find the ruin.” The recruiter had to find that element in a newcomer’s life which gave them most distress and then persuade them that Scientology had the solution to that problem.

In Aubry’s case, said Morice, when he had taken the personality test at the Celebrity Centre he was told that he had “ruins” in his personal and professional life and was persuaded to buy a 70,000-franc package (10,671 euros).

Aubry had balked at the price: but the defendant Didier Michaux, a salesman at the SEL bookshop, had talked him round, persuading him that this was an exceptional offer.

But later, Aubry had felt increasingly vulnerable during Scientology’s counselling or auditing sessions, telling investigators: “During these auditing sessions I felt humiliated because he asked me details of my sexual life, very intimate things.”

And as his auditing progressed, Aubry’s handlers had told him that he was surrounded by “suppressive” people in his life (evil, destructive influences). “So I had to break with my parents and friends…”

During the trial the defendant Jean-François Valli had said that no one was forced to write success stories about the courses they had done. But Aubry’s account contradicted that.

He had told investigators that if you did not wholeheartedly endorse a session, you could well be obliged to sit it again.

Aubry had also said that it was the defendant Aline Fabre who had given him a telephone number to get the bags of vitamins he needed for the Purification Rundown. Fabre faced a charge for the illegal exercise of pharmacy for her role in supervising the Rundown at the Celebrity Centre.

And Aubry had told investigators that he had stayed so long in the sauna that he had experienced numerous hallucinations and had even at one point become aggressive because he did not want to take any more pills.

His experience during the Rundown had left him exhausted and provoked periods of depression – a far cry from the glowing accounts of the process that Scientologists had offered during the trial.

And in the meantime, the pressure to buy more courses and materials had continued relentlessly.

Aubry had told investigators how Michaux would take him into his office in a bid to get him to sign up for more courses. At one point, he had felt so harassed that he had changed his mobile phone number: but then he started getting phone calls at his work.

It was Michaux, trying to get him to buy more packages.

“He could stay an hour on the telephone,” said Aubry. “He would read me the texts of Ron Hubbard over the phone.”

“…harassment, manipulation, abuse and extortion”

Aubry described how he had been subjected to a period of extended pressure from a number of Scientologists at the centre, including Michaux, over four or five days. And as they approached the Thursday, 2:00 pm deadline, it got worse.

“It was extraordinary pressure,” Aubry had said. “With M. Michaux it was like that each time. And with Valli it had been the same. He also told I had to pay ‘before Thursday, 2:00 pm.”

Aubry also said that it had been Michaux who had suggested he cash in his housing savings account, with more than 126,000 francs (19,000 euros) in it, to pay for additional courses.

This he eventually did, he said, as well as taking out a loan for another 30,000 francs (4,500 euros) – and he had a great deal of difficulty getting a receipt. “They told me, ‘The Dianetics Centre is not a bank.’”

Aubry had at one point written a letter of complaint denouncing Scientology’s methods, after he had trouble getting some of his money back. He was told that a refund was not possible, at it was that point that he came under a different kind of pressure.

A staff member told him he had to sign a document withdrawing his claim for a refund; and another promising to change certain aspects of his private life, of which his Scientology handlers disapproved – otherwise he would be excluded from Scientology.

Faced with that threat, he caved in and complied.

Summing up his experiences to investigators during one interview, Aubry had told them: “I believe I was subjected to harassment, manipulation, abuse and extortion over a period of three years. For me, this association has nothing spiritual about it. It is more of an authoritarian, coercive group, stifling any free will or individual liberty.”

Looking through Aubry’s statements about his dealings with Scientology staff, one phrase kept recurring, said Morice: “Before Thursday 2:00pm, before Thursday 2:00 pm, before Thursday 2:00 pm,”

And so far as Scientologists’ talk of “donations” was concerned, Aubry had told investigators: “At no time did I have the feeling that I was making ‘donations’. I was buying.”

Morice also took time to mention another of the defendants, Alain Rosenberg.

For Aubry, Rosenberg had been the head of the Celebrity Centre, said Morice. It was he who summoned staff members to meetings, Aubry had told investigators.

“He was very authoritarian,” Aubry added. “I remember one time seeing him tell off a young woman because the cleaning hadn’t been well done.” (Rosenberg, the centre’s executive director, insisted throughout the trial that his role was a purely pastoral, religious one.)

Looking back, Aubry had compared the warm welcome he had received at the beginning of his time in Scientology with the pressure he had come under later. “My feeling is that I was deceived… I got caught up in their system,” he told investigators.

It was not simply his experience with the Rundown that had been damaging: his whole experience with Scientology had been destabilising.

“From a religious point of view, it brought me nothing, since there was nothing spiritual about what I went through. I don’t see what is spiritual about pressuring people to get more money out of them,” he told investigators.

“If I filed this complaint,” he added, “it was above all, to break this grip that the[Celebrity Centre] had on me.”[4]

“You are manipulated without realising it”

Morice now turned to the experience of the Aude-Claire Malton, one of the two remaining individuals still registered as a plaintiff in the case.

The defendants had argued that no one visiting the Celebrity Centre could miss that it was a part of Scientology’s activities.

Malton’s account was that she had visited the centre to do Dianetics auditing. “I remember at a certain point having said that Scientology did not interest me, only Dianetics, and they said that was no problem.”

Malton had made it clear that the religious side did not interest her, that she had her own religious beliefs, having been raised a Catholic. “I had no intention of praying to Ron Hubbard,” she had told investigators.

Morice recalled Malton’s account of the long, July 4 sales session she had with Jean-François Valli – the evening when she had deliberately left her bankers card and cheque book at home in a bid to avoid having to buy more courses.

“He proposed another programme: the Purification Rundown,” Malton had recalled. “When he said I couldn’t pay this sum (100,000 francs; 15,244 euros) he said that exceptionally, there was a promotional package for me.” The revised sum was 68,000 francs (10,360 euros).

When Malton had said she still could not afford it, Valli had urged her to reconsider, saying that finally, she would be able to spend money on herself.[5]

It had been 11:00 pm before she had left his office, having finally agreed, despite her earlier resolutions, to buy the course.

When Malton’s money had finally run out and she tried to tell Valli she could not buy the next package he was urging on her, he had told her “That’s not a problem: we are going to find a solution” – which was when the issue of the loan had come up.

She had recalled too how she had agreed to give up her hotel job for a less well-paid at the Celebrity Centre – and how she had been coached on what to say to her family about her increasing involvement in the movement. “I noted down the phrases that I should use to convince my family.”

The defendants had said that there was no problem getting refunds from Scientology. But Malton said she had had to struggle to get hers.

And she recalled too that when she had wanted to take some documents home to look them over properly before signing them, they had refused. “They said I couldn’t take them away because I might show them to a journalist – or I myself might be a journalist.”

Looking back at her experience, Malton had said: “You are manipulated without realising it.”

The other plaintiff, Nelly Reziga, had not even signed up for Scientology, Morice recalled: she had simply been recruited for a job and then put under pressure by her employer to get involved in the movement.[6]

Morice went over the findings of the indictment, which had stressed the lack of scientific rigour of the personality test. He pointed out that the test Malton had filled in after being given it on the street had contained no reference to Scientology, only mentioning Dianetics.

The 1995 parliamentary report into cults had referred to the personality test as one of the hooks Scientology used to draw people in, said Morice.[7]

The defendant Rosenberg may have tried to minimise its importance, but all the plaintiffs, past and present, had at some point in their progress through Scientology, done the test at least once – and in some cases on several occasions.

And when several French high schools had complained to the authorities about Scientologists leafleting outside their establishments, again, it was the personality test that was being handed out.

Nor was the fact that the leaflets of the test carried no mention of Scientology by any means as anodyne as the defendants had tried to suggest, said Morice.

For this point had proved important in one 2002 court decision involving a charge of attempted fraud against the L'association spirituelle de l'église de scientologie d'Ile-de-France (ASESIF). That case had concerned the distribution of personality tests, to be returned to the Celebrity Centre at rue Legendre, Paris.

The judgement had released the ASESIF because it was not based at the rue Legendre Paris address of the Celebrity Centre, which the judgement described as a Dianetics Centre.

This time around of course, it was the Paris Celebrity Centre, L'Association spirituelle de l'Eglise de Scientologie (ASES), that was on trial.

The E-meter, the Rundown and hard sell

Morice turned to the electrometer, the device used in Scientology counselling, or “auditing” sessions.

He had already quoted some of the more ambitious claims that Hubbard had made for the e-meter to great effect: hearing them, two of the defendants’ own expert witnesses on the device had been careful to distance themselves from his more grandiose statements.

The opportunity to return to that theme during his summing up was too good to miss. Morice let Hubbard’s words speak for themselves.

The nimble needle of the electropsychometer can detect with accuracy things which would have been otherwise hidden from man forever.

The invention of the electropsychometer, like so many important things in this cynical and dull age on Earth, is not cited by our generation as very important. Yet in a future time historians may well spend pages and pictures upon it.

For if the truth be known, the electropsychometer utterly dwarfs the invention of the microscope, for Leeuwenhoek found the way only to find bacteria; the electropsychometer provides the way for Man to find his freedom and to rise, perhaps, to social and constructive levels of which Man has never dreamed, and to avoid perils in that route which Man, in going, would have found more deadly than any bacteria ever evolved or invented.

So far as the Purification Rundown was concerned Morice’s colleague Maître Olivier Saumon, counsel for the National Council for the Order of Pharmacists, had already tackled the subject in detail.

Morice contented himself with noting that two of the original plaintiffs, Aude-Claire Malton and Eric Aubry, had suffered during the experience.

Malton had experienced flushes and stomach cramps, which Dr Véronique Brion, a specialist in clinical pharmacology who had appeared as a witness for the plaintiffs, had said was entirely understandable given what the programme involved. And former plaintiff Eric Aubry had actually suffered hallucinations during the Rundown.

As for Scientology’s denial that it was obsessed with the pursuit of money, said Morice, that was undermined by its own documents. For Hubbard’s own writings had spoken about hard sell.

And then there was the concept of hard sell.

During the trial, more than one defendant had attempted to translate the English phrase “hard sell” as a “desire to help people”, Morice noted – but that was just further evidence of their cynicism.[9]

And earlier, the prosecution had quoted a document written by a leading Scientologist in the 1960s and endorsed by Hubbard, which more than one defendant had argued was no longer valid.

“Don’t be deceived by this kind of fallacious argument,” said Morice, quoting key extracts:

7. …This is a gimmick and it works every time…

9. You must be willing at all times to control each body coming into your office from the time you bring them from Reception… until the final stages of signing the cheque, until they walk out of the door. This was my reason for success – 90% of it. People are crying out to be controlled…

14. Make it your business to talk freely with students… remember you took their hard earned [sic] cash at the outset. Let them feel that you are still interested even though there is no cash forthcoming this time…

17. If people have money difficulties, and 99 out of 100 will tell you they cannot afford anything now, you draw up a budget for them, make them realise that for the first time they are spending money on themselves…

28. Never phone a person up and ask for money; it causes ARC [communication] breaks. Get them in. If you know the person that well, do it on the phone. Let them feel they are “Helping” [sic] the org by sending a few pounds on their account…[10]

Morice reminded the court that this Scientology document had been among those quoted in support of the fraud convictions handed down to several Scientologists following high-profile trials in Lyon and Marseille in the 1990s.

And the flipside of Scientology’s relentless pursuit of money was its complete lack of interest in people who had no money to pay for their courses, said Morice.

He recalled the court what the defendant Rosenberg had answered when asked what Scientology could offer someone with no money: if you had no money, you could read books in the library.

And he quoted another remark of Rosenberg’s: “When you are unemployed, there is a clear lack of spirituality.”[11]

And all of this led back to Hubbard’s own writings, he said, quoting one of his 1972 policy letters, which listed Scientology’s priorities, point by point.


Was this Scientology’s version of spirituality, asked Morice? “I prefer the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount.”

He noted too, that the defence had argued that any mistakes made by individual defendants should not be turned into an indictment of the whole movement.

In media interviews, Maître Patrick Maisonneuve, one of Scientology’s main defence lawyers, had argued that the discovery of one paedophile priest did not call into question the whole Catholic Church.[13]

It was a fallacious argument, said Morice: the analogy did not hold.

What the court was dealing with here were not isolated incidents caused by one or two over-zealous staff members: they were the direct consequence of the application of Scientology techniques, said Morice.

Scientologists convicted following the Lyon and Marseille trials had used exactly the same techniques, he added.[14]

“These techniques are systematically used by Scientology. This is a cult whose members have been convicted several times for fraud. That is why it is not enough to target the individual defendants.

“Who profits financially from this? We have seen the confusion of finances at the Celebrity Centre.” Whose interest did that serve?

In his indictment, investigated magistrate Jean-Christophe Hullin had argued that the confusion of finances between the non-profit Celebrity Centre and the for-profit SEL network of bookshops had been deliberate and for fraudulent ends, said Morice.

Hullin had also noted the flow of the centre’s income abroad, in particular to Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

The cost to Malton

The week before, the defence had tried to suggest that Aude-Claire Malton could no longer be said to have suffered any material prejudice because she had received a full refund. Morice took time to attack that argument.

Scientology’s policy throughout had been to buy off the plaintiffs, to get them to drop their complaint, in a bid to head off the court case, he said.

It was a tactic they had used in Marseille, when most of the original plaintiffs had backed out of the case, having settled with Scientology.[15]

In Malton’s case, between May 18 and August 24, 1998, she had spent 145,000 francs (22,100 euros). After quitting the movement, she had written to Scientology later that year asking for a refund.

In return, they had sent her not a cheque, but a photocopy of a cheque, payable provided she signed a document undertaking not to take legal action – another standard Scientology tactic, said Morice.

Is that what the defence had meant when it said that anyone could get a refund, he asked?

Despite having refused to sign the legal waiver, Malton received a partial refund in October of the same year of about 110,000 francs (16,800 euros): the bulk of what she had spent.

Then, six years later and out of the blue she had received a third payment for the balance of the refund: 4,700 euros. “Nobody was able to explain why,” said Morice.

The payment did not come with any letter of explanation, he said. And it certainly did not take account of the swingeing 11-percent interest Malton had been paying on the loan she had taken out at the SOFINCO bank during her time in Scientology, which came to more than 3,000 euros. So his client was still out-of-pocket.

But leaving aside the question of financial loss, Malton had been devastated by the experience, as she herself had told the court, said Morice.

“I had trouble rebuilding my life. I wasn't sure of myself and then I was completely destroyed... I had trouble trusting people again,” Malton had told the court. It taken her nine years to get over the experience, she had added in later testimony.

Morice asked for the following for his client:

On the count of organised fraud, Morice called on the court to impose a fine of 5,000 euros against the defendants to cover Malton’s losses – and a further 15,000 euros in damages;
On the count of illegal practice of pharmacy, Morice asked for the court to order payment of 300 euros to cover Malton’s costs – and another 1,500 euros in damages;
he also called for Malton to receive another 15,000 euros to cover her legal costs.

Morice spoke a few words for his other client, UNADFI, the French federation of counter-groups, whose president Catherine Picard had testified during the trial and which was seeking the status of plaintiff.

Scientology considered UNADFI a “suppressive” organisation, said Morice – and more than once, Morice had quoted one of the movement’s (former) senior executives, Mike Rinder, on “shattering” Suppressives.

Yet the authorities had accorded this “suppressive” group the status of an “association of public utility” (RUP) and had invited it to participate in the training of the country’s lawyers and law enforcement professionals.

Morice closed his presentation by quoting extracts from Jean-Michel Roulet’s foreword to the 2007 annual report of MIVILUDES, the cult watchdog attached to the prime minister’s office.

Roulet, who stepped down as MIVILUDES chairman in 2008, had summarised the attitude of the abusive organisations they were trying to expose.

In the face of increased public vigilance, these groups had very quickly developed their own line, wrote Roulet:

Any State action in this field encroaches on the exercise of public liberties, particularly on the freedom of belief, although the notion of belief cannot actually be demonstrated in most cases.

Any warning from State authorities is discriminatory, and any accusation defamatory.

There are no victims, only apostates, whose testimonies are more than questionable. There are no established facts, only rumours…

To summarise, there are neither victims nor public disorder and there are more serious and pressing matters on which the State should focus its energy. There are only a handful of people - who are always the same – who are wasting public funds in this futile, out-dated witch hunt.

Well, for 3 years, I met with those victims one would have you believe invisible on a daily basis, I listened to their families, and I was witness to the damage and irreparable harm caused by all those gurus and witch-doctors in the sectarian movement.

I noted the expectations of all those who had suffered and suffered still as a result of actions void of any respect for human dignity.

I took note of the cynicism and arrogance of certain heads of these sectarian movements. I am to this day astounded by the composure and the bad faith displayed by their leaders and defenders.

And with that, Morice was done.
[1] The founder of Instinctotherapy, Guy-Claude Burger, argued that his dietary regime of raw food could cure a range of illness, including cancer: hence the conviction for practising medicine without a licence. Morice also mentioned another idea developed by Burger, “metapsychoanalysis” (métapsychanalyse) the aim of which appears to have been a justification of the guru’s paedophiliac tendencies. Burger has been convicted both in Switzerland (1978) and in France (2003) for the sexual abuse of minors.
[2] This unsuccessful bid to recuse the investigating magistrate was directed against Colette Bismuth-Sauron. The Paris Appeal Court rejected in a January 2004 ruling, handing out the maximum 750-euro fines to those behind the bid, defendants in the present trial: Aline Fabre, Alain Rosenberg, Sabine Jacquart and the Paris Celebrity Centre.
[3] The edition in question led off with a full-fledged attack on UNADFI. The headline gives the flavour: “Manipulations and Lies: those pressure groups that stir up hysteria”. UNADFI had applied for the status of plaintiff in the case, against the objections of the defence, a decision on which the judges had put off until the overall verdict (October 27).
[4] Aubry, who had filed his complaint on October 30, 2001, eventually wrote to the investigating magistrate on December 18, 2007 to say he was withdrawing his complaint, having reached a settlement with Scientology. But under the French system, his evidence remained in the dossier.
[5] As the prosecution pointed out later, this echoed the arguments set out in a policy letter that the Scientologists had tried to disown (see note 10 below).
[6] Reziga’s former employer would also have been a defendant in the trial, but he died before it came to court.
[7] The controversial 1995 report said the following about the test: “Mental destabilisation can take very diverse and in particular, very insidious forms as the personality test and the “auditing” offered by the Church of Scientology illustrate. Here is how one former member of this association described his experience of the test to the Committee:
“‘The way I see it, this test, which is made up of around 200 questions covering money, family, work, etc., has a genuine psychological base but then gives rise to an analysis – these days on a computer, which gives it a serious aspect that makes a big impression – which above all tends to highlight your weaknesses…
“‘So the weaknesses are played up while the strengths tend to be played down, which allows them to reach the conclusion that there are things that need doing at that the Dianetics Centre has things to propose you… And from that point on, [people] are tempted to take it further.’
“Already then, the process of mental destabilisation has started.”
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the report was that it generated a list of organisations considered to be cults, which critics said included esoteric but perfectly harmless associations who subsequently found themselves stigmatised.
[8] From L. Ron Hubbard’s 1952 Electropsychometric Auditing Operator’s Manual, which Morice had quoted earlier in the trial.
[9] See for example the comments by Eric Roux, the Scientologist representing the Celebrity Centre; and a similar account offered by Aurore Nadler, representing the SEL network of Scientology bookshops in France, the other organisation charged. Once again, it is worth pointing out, that in Scientology terms, they were offering a perfectly accurate definition. “Hard Sell means insistence that people buy. It means caring about the person and not being reasonable about stops or barriers but caring enough to get him through the stops or barriers to get the service that's going to rehabilitate him.” HCO policy letter Sept. 26, 1979. (See also note Seven to 24 The Bookshop.)
[10] “Registration”, Hubbard Communications Policy Letter, May 3, 1961. This policy letter, although written by South African Scientologist Sue Van Niekerk, carries a glowing endorsement from Hubbard. These same quotes also appeared in the indictment in this case.
[11] It is not clear if Rosenberg said this in court (I certainly did not hear it) or whether it was something he had said to investigators earlier. But it tallies with Hubbard’s thinking on the matter. “Now, don't tell me—don't try to tell me that we should be charitable. Don't, please, tell me I should be charitable. I'm so damned tired of being charitable! Charity begins at home”: Hubbard, Lecture 02 September 1956 Effectiveness of Brainwashing.
[12] “Governing Policy”: HCO Policy Letter, 9 March 1972.
[13] For example in La Croix, May 18, 2009; and L’Express, May 13, 2009.
[14] It is worth noting too that at that time, the investigating magistrate could only go after the individuals concerned. He did not have the option of laying charges against les personnes morales: the organisations: the Scientology organisations themselves. That law only came into force on March 1, 1994 – and although that predates both the Lyon and Marseille trials (1996 and 1999), it does not predate the events at the centre of both trials. In France, the law is only retroactive if it benefits the defendant.
[15] Many of the plaintiffs in the Lyon case had also settled before the case came to trial, sending similar letters to the court to that effect. But it did not prevent material from their original complaints being used during the trial.
[16] Foreword from the Chairman, in the official English translation of the MIVILUDES report (five pages in from the top): see here for the original French.

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