Arbroath man suing Church of Scientology

The Courier and Advertiser (Dundee, Scotland)/September 8, 1998

An Arbroath man is suing the Church of Scientology -- a US-based religious organization which lists major Hollywood movie stars among its followers -- for up to £50,000.

David Cresswell has lodged a writ at the High Court in London seeking damages from the Church of Scientology Religious Education College Inc. and the Dianetics and Scientology Mission of Bournemouth Ltd.

The writ states that Mr. Cresswell is seeking damages against the two bodies to recover money he claims he paid under "undue influence."

Mr. Cresswell is suing the two organizations for a number of sums of money including interest and has lodged an alternative claim against the two for damages limited to £50,000.

In the writ, he is seeking to recover a payment of £7350 which Mr. Cresswell claims was made to the Church of Scientology Religious Education College under "under influence and/or in reliance upon deceits or misrepresentations."

He is seeking to recovery £19,037 from the Dianetics and Scientology Mission of Bournemouth which Mr. Cresswell claims was paid under similar circumstances.

He is also seeking repayment of £2297 jointly from the two on the same grounds.

An alternative claim has been filed against the two jointly for damages of up to £50,000 for alleged "conspiracy to injure by use of unlawful means."

The writ was lodged in the Queen's Bench division of the High Court of Justice in London by solicitors acting on behalf of Mr. Cresswell on August 28. The defendants have 14 days to respond to the legal challenge, either meeting the claim or intimating whether they intend to contest it.

Mr. Cresswell was not available at his home in the Hospitafield area of Arbroath last night and is said to be out of the country until the end of the year. He is a former member of the church having left around three years ago.

The church was founded in America almost 50 years ago by author L. Ron Hubbard and has spread to establish branches around the world, including the UK.

The movement worships a prehistoric warrior figure and was founded on the basis of Hubbard's principles of Dianetics, a mix of religious imagery, philosophy and science fiction.

In a statement issued last night, Church of Scientology public affairs director Mr. Graeme Wilson said, "Scientology teaches people to think for themselves. However, in order to benefit from Scientology you have to be honest and ethical. For that reason Scientology is not suited to some people and the church is usually willing to refund donations to such people.

"However, we have no record of Mr. Cresswell using the church's procedure for such a refund."

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