NZ bans UK couple over 1984 Scientology case

The Dominion Post, New Zealand/May 4, 2011

A British man who failed to disclose that he was deported from Denmark after "industrial espionage" against the Church of Scientology has been refused permission to settle in New Zealand.

Oxford University-educated Robin Scott, 62, and his wife Adrienne, 61, a teacher, left their Canterbury organic farmlet in March after the Immigration and Protection Tribunal turned down their appeal against a direction that they had to leave the country.

In visitor and work visa applications from 2005, the couple disclosed that they had both served prison sentences in Britain in the 1990s for growing cannabis that they said would help research into the medicinal use of the drug.

However, four years later, they revealed to New Zealand authorities for the first time that Mr Scott had served a month in a Danish prison before being deported in 1984. He later agreed he faced a criminal charge but said it was essentially a civil dispute over "industrial espionage".

He had waited outside a Scientology property in Copenhagen while two accomplices wearing the insignia of senior church officials gained entry and obtained teaching materials to use in a business he had set up for students wanting to study Scientology from outside the organisation.

Mr Scott, originally a member of the Church of Scientology, formed a breakaway group when he thought it was no longer acting in accord with the spirit of its founder, LRon Hubbard.

In 1996 he was sentenced to four years' jail, and in 1998 he was sentenced to another two years and six months on the cannabis charges.

Mrs Scott was sentenced to 15 months, and later 240 hours' community work, on the charges she faced but she was accepted for registration as a teacher in New Zealand.

The Teachers Council said it was impressed with the open and honest way the Scotts answered questions.

Mrs Scott said she had never condoned recreational cannabis use and renounced her earlier cannabis crusade as "misguided".

Two of their three adult children had come to live in New Zealand in 2006 after falling in love with the country during a visit the previous year.

Daughter Sara Scott, known as Sally, said she and her brother Edward would follow their parents back to Britain later this year. Both had been granted permanent residence but Miss Scott said they did not want to stay without their parents.

The family's 9.5-hectare organic farmlet near Darfield is for sale. As well as working on the property, all the family members had outside work.

Their parents had set up a farmers' market in Darfield, and supported it with their own money to keep it going over the first winter, Miss Scott said.

Mr Scott wrote a book, Fortress New Zealand, about the need for New Zealand to be self-sufficient and how it could cope with issues such as global warming.

As well as Mrs Scott's teaching, Mr Scott worked in finance management and accounting in Christchurch, and both supported holistic health practices including yoga.

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