Continuing with our coverage of the just-concluded trial against Scientology in France, this news item from Le Monde is in part made up of quotes from Scientology’s lead attorney, Patrick Maisonneuve, who sees the case as a cop-out on the part of prosecutors. While the charges against Scientology are for organized group fraud and the illegal use of pharmaceuticals, Maisonneuve says the real defendent in the case is religion writ large – and prosecutors simply lack the nerve to go after such a formidable opponent.

Apparently shocked at the turn the case has taken, Maisonneuve is quoted by Le Monde reporter Yves Bordenave as saying in part:

“Such a harsh indictment for people who haven’t enriched themselves with even a cent of a euro! … If the authorities believe that Scientology is a danger to public order, well, these authorities should take up their responsibilities! Let them say it. … Because this is about arbitrating the issue of religion. … We are being asked to dissolve. But I ask you to dissolve prejudices, preconceived notions and attacks on freedom of expression.”

By Yves Bordenave

Translated By Sandrine Ageorges

June 18, 2009

France – Le Monde – Original Article (French)

Patrick Maisonneuve, attorney for the Church of Scientology association, is sure he’s never seen anything like it. Before the Paris court, which has been trying six member of Scientology and its bookstore for “organized fraud” and “illegal use of pharmaceuticals” since May 25, Maisonneuve said, “After thirty years of practice, this is the first time that I’ve seen a request for acquittal pass to a pleading for capital punishment.” The Scientology bookstore and library is being tried as a legal person in its own right.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Maisonneuve refers to the surprising request for dismissal by the public prosecutor at the end of the court investigation The court dismissed the request. In the United States a prosecutor would be unlikely to have made such a request. This has been interpreted by some to show that the Sarkozy government, for who the prosecutors answer to, isn’t too happy about pursuing the case. French courts operate under the Napoleonic Code rather than English common law, from which the U.S. derives its legal code].

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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Gee, sometimes a fraud is just a fraud, not an attack on religion.

  • archangel

    “In the United States a prosecutor would never had made such a request. ”

    fact: in the US, a prosecutor can make a request that a case be dismissed, charges be vacated, added to, deleted, etc. Ethically, and for many reasons; new evidence that undercuts the prosecutory case, witnesses failing to be ‘found’ who already promised to testify. The judge may decide to suppress certain evidences not clearly related to the charges at hand, such as prior history of defendents et al. There are many reasons such can occur, and ought if evidences or mis-steps in procedure/ due process arise, including pointing out the court’s errors even if the judge did not recognize them originally.

  • RolandoR

    I am Scientologist and I am very happy that at least prosecutor could clearly see that there is no evidence against Scientology in France. There were no witnesses, and Mr. Aude-Claire Malton was never forced to pay any sums of money.Scientology as religion as very clear policy on people which seek refunds: refund and close the door. That policy is very good policy in comparison with other organizations which would request and by law demand the contractual obligations. Scientology staff is dedicated to serve the parishioner AS LONG AS IT TAKES. If anyone has subscribed to a course of Scientology Religion one could see that course can take 5 days or 15 days or 50 days. It does not matter, there is always one donation fee which is for unlimited time. It is actually true that Scientology Religion and Technology for Spiritual Freedom is not for everybody. It is for able people wishing to become more able. It is for those wishing to improve personally. Thoe which can recognize that change and improvement is possible.People which are potential trouble sources are suppressed by someone. Such are those persons claiming refunds with Scientology. They sign the donation agreements themselves, they decide by themselves and they enter into firm and confirmed agreement. They TAKE the services and spend months and years in Scientology, gaining for themselves spiritual improvement and benefits. When they encounter suppressive person, antisocial person, for some unsolved reason they seek refunds. Is that fair? I bet those complainants were served by too numerous staff and for long time, and donation given cannot be compared to any other service in terms of exchange of value for value. But they choose to betray their friends which were helping them. They choose it for sake of publicity and money. Scientologist are most decent persons I have ever seen. And they are busy learning and improving their skills and abilities, on the way and path to spiritual freedom. Scientology works and people improve their lives by applying Scientology Technology. It is available to everyone: […] And my very clear prediction: Scientology will not be closed in France. The complainants will pay the fines for their wrongdoings. If there is any attempt to close Scientology in France, that will be rejected, if not in France, than on the higher court.

  • ann_drever

    Dianetics and Scientology wouldn’t be growing in the whole world the way it is if it weren’t a philosophy that is practical and works. This is something that one knows, not that one believes. As Ronald Hubbard said: “If it is true and real for you, then it is true”. This is integrity, this is being coherent, this is being true to oneself.

  • Thanks for the correction on the editor’s note, Archangel.

    What I was unartfully pointing out – is that the two legal systems operate in a fundamentally different way – and that the circumstances in which the public prosecutor made the request would not have occurred in the United States. There is far more likelihood for political involvement from the executive branch in what a public prosecutor does in court. And the way trial investigations are conducted is also far different – with the court itself conducting a probe before the trial takes place.

  • Susan Baskin

    Ha ha ha.
    What a place for the preferred cult of celebrities to be banned!! Paris!! So Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and Kirsty Alley will all be considered cultic deviants, and cultic bullies in France – the coolest country in the world.

    Thank God for France – they’ve got courage, and ethics; things sorely lacking in other countries. If they’re going to do it, do you think North America would be smart enough? Doubt it.

  • Zorro8008

    Scientology is NOT growing worldwide. These are largely absurd claims by Scientologists intent on forwarding the party line. Standard census data has, for years, shown that Scientology has, no more than perhaps 500,000 adherents worldwide.

    France should take the courageous step that my country, the US, has been to cowardly to take: call it Scientology was it is, a money-making, FOR-PROFIT scam masquerading as a religion. Do this France and set a good example for the world.

    I say all this as an former Scientology staff member who witnessed and participated first-hand in the under-handed tactics Scientology promote.

    Let the banhammer drop.

  • Susan Baskin

    NOBODY needs to have their minds interfered with in the way that these insane bullies and their spawn such as EST, RC, and similar fascist organizations interfere with and ruin minds. Nobody. It is worse than physical abuse, there has to be recognition of the assault on the mind that these maniacs and monsters carry out.

  • Murthy

    Don’t be so fast to jump on the anti-Scientology bandwagon, media campaigns and general
    accusations pass as “truths” when enough of copycat articles get published. I have known some
    Scientologists from time to time and they are not your foggy headed fanitical cult figures that
    these media witch hunts seem to constantly depict them as.

    Whats disturbing to me here is the actual proof of wrong doing seems to be secondary, there
    are no real facts concerning any wrong doing, if so where are they? all I see is just general anti Scientology lines been constantly put out there. Why are they so dangerous? and to who?
    Why the witch hunt?

    Remember the WMD in Iraq? and how the media (which is totally controlled by vested interests)
    can create an athmosphere that justifies war … perhaps we should not be so fast to jump on these
    witch hunt bandwagons.

    If Scientology is guilty then they should pay for their crimes, but lets be sure to have all the facts
    and be sure that we are not the ones that are really being duped.

    Tom USA

  • Terryeo

    The French Court investigated for 10 years, based on several people’s complaints. The Court instigated investigation and had the Church raided to confiscate publicly sold items. After 10 years, when pressed, the Court-assigned prosecutor recommended dismissal. But the French Court refused his conclusion and pressed ahead with its powerful, follow-the-USA-government prosecution.

    The USA government, as manifested in the Internal Revenue Service, did much the same 30 years ago. But one judge of the the French Government, wants to do it again. And of course, this means the French Court’s findings become public record.