Thursday, 24 November 2011

What the Prosecution wants on appeal

The prosecutor in the Paris appeal trial for organised fraud and the illegal practice of pharmacy wants to more than double the fines handed down to the two Scientology organisations convicted at the original trial.

The defendants and their lawyers walked out of the trial on appeal after the court rejected their procedural and legal objections.

So it was the prosecutor, Hugues Warhaye, who closed proceedings, setting out what penalties the state wanted to see the court impose on the defendants.

Perhaps most significant is that he wants to more than double the fines against the two Scientology organisations handed down at the original trial.

After outlining the various offences (set out in my coverage of the original trial) he asked for:

  •   a fine of one million euros against L’Association Spirituelle de l’Eglise de Scientologie CC (ASES), the Celebrity Centre (substantially more than the 400,000-euro fine handed down in the original judgment);
  •  a fine of 500,000 euros against Scientologie Espace Librairie (SEL), Scientology’s network of bookshops (again, a 150-percent increase on the 200,000-euro fine they received in the original judgement);
  • For Alain Rosenberg, the managing director of the Celebrity Centre, he asked for a two-year suspended jail sentence and a 30,000-euro fine (the same as his original sentence);
  • For Sabine Jacquart, president of the Celebrity Centre at the time in question, he asked for a two-year suspended sentence and a 20,000-euro fine (more than the original sentence because of what he said was her key role in the offences);
  • For Didier Michaux, the Paris bookshop’s star salesman, he asked for an 18-month suspended sentence and a 20,000-euro fine (the same as his original sentence);
  • For Jean-Fran├žois Valli, the other bookshop salesman who also did work for the Celebrity Centre, he asked for a two-year suspended sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros: (both the suspended sentence and the fine higher than in his original conviction);
  • For Aline Fabre, who supervised the Purification Rundown at the Celebrity Centre, he asked for a 4,000-euro fine (twice that received that in the original trial).

A sixth defendant convicted over her role as an intermediary in the sale of vitamins for the Purification Rundown and fined 1,000 euros at the original trial did not appeal.

You can see a summary of what prosecution asked for at the original trial here; and a summary of the original convictions here. I also recently published an analysis of the original sentence.

Briefly, Olivier Morice, for the counter-cult UNADFI, which is appealing the refusal of its status as plaintiff in the case, returned to the issue of a procedural error, which he thinks may mean the appeal by ASES, the Celebrity Centre, is null and void. I summarised this issue briefly at Why We Protest a couple of days ago.

The appeal court will hand down its ruling on Thursday, February 2.