Church of Scientology fined $250,000 for spying

Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta)/September 12, 1992
The Canadian Press (Toronto)

The Church of Scientology is Toronto was fined $250,000 of Friday for spying on police and government agencies more than 15 years ago.

Justice James Southey described the organization's actions as "an insidious attack…that threatened the integrity of two essential law-enforcement agencies."

It was convicted last June of two accounts of criminal breach of trust.

Two Scientology "spies" were also fined $2,000 each and their "case officer" was handed a $5,000 fine.

The three were implicated in a Scientology ring that reached into the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto police, the attorney-general's office, Revenue Canada, two law firms and medical associations in the mid-1970s.

They infiltrated the agencies to find out how much authorities knew about Scientology's activities.

Defense lawyer Clayton Ruby said he planned to appeal the convictions and sentence, calling the prosecution a violation of the church's religious freedoms.

"We don't think it's appropriate to fine this little church," Ruby said outside the courthouse.

Scientology spokesman Earl Smith termed the fine "outrageous. Our innocent parishoners will have to pay for this."

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