Title: Some Latey quotes
[You can get the full text of the judgment here
Subject: What Justice Latey *really* said about Scientology
I think it's about time to put the record straight about what Mr. Justice Latey said
about Scientology in the Old Bailey in 1984. Thanks are due to Jon Atack ("A Piece
of Blue Sky"), Stewart Lamont ("Religion, Inc.") and the Bodleian Law Library, Oxford
for the information. Atack, incidentally, was an expert witness in the case, something
for which the CoS have never forgiven him; a 1994 special British edition of
"Freedom" magazine describes him as "'expert witness'-for-hire Jon Atack",
amongst other personal abuse.
Unless otherwise stated, all the quotes below are directly from Justice Latey's
judgement. There's some good .sig material in there, and it has the added bonus of
shooting yet another fox of spokesclam Andrew Milne (firstname.lastname@example.org). Latey's
judgement can be found in the Family Law Reports as:
Re B & G (Minors)  FLR 134 and 493
I hope to post the above in the near future but this'll do for now.
In 1984, a case came before Mr. Justice Latey, in the Family Division of the Royal
Courts of Justice (popularly known as the Old Bailey) in London. It involved two
children, a boy and a girl, whose custody was being disputed by the divorced
parents. The unusual feature of the case was that the mother and stepfather were
ex-Scientologists, and the natural father was a committed Scientologist. Justice
Latey summed up the problem that this posed:
At the heart of the mother's case is the contention that if
remain in the care of the father they will be brought up as Scientologists
and will be seriously damaged . . .
The Church of Scientology (hi, Andy) has repeatedly claimed that this case was just
another example of state-sponsored persecution-cum-genocide against a bona fide
religion. Latey anticipated this and emphasized that:
It is important, indeed essential, to stress from the start
that this is neither
an action against Scientology nor a prosecution of it. But willy-nilly
Scientology is at the center of the dispute of what is best for the children.
The father and his counsel have stressed that they are not here to defend
Scientology. That is true in the strict sense that the "Church" of
Scientology is not a party to the proceedings. But they have known from
the start what the mother's case is . . . The father's solicitor is a
Scientologist. He has been in communication with the solicitors who act
for Scientology. There has been ample time and opportunity to assemble
and adduce documents and evidence in refutation of the mother's
allegations. None has been adduced. Why? Because the mother's case
is based largely on Scientology's own documents and as the father's
counsel . . . candidly albeit plaintively said "What can we do to refute what
is stated in Scientology's own documents?"
He went on to describe the background to the case:
. . . The parents were married in 1973 and late that year B
[the son] was
born. G [the daughter] was born in December, 1975. The parents
separated in November, 1978. In December, 1978 and January, 1979,
the parents signed agreements by virtue of which the father had custody
of the children and the mother access . . . In March 1979 the father filed a
petition of divorce on the ground of the mother's adultery with the
In September, 1979 . . . by agreement, custody was committed
father. The divorce was made absolute in November, 1979. The father
and stepmother married. The mother and stepfather also went through a
ceremony of marriage believing that they were free to do so. In fact, the
stepfather's divorce had not gone through . . .
As to the separation in 1980, the father said in his Affidavit
that this was
caused by the mother's relationship with the stepfather. In his oral
evidence the father accepted that he had drawn up what in Scientology
language is described as a 'Doubt Formula' ["Doubt" is one of the "Ethics
Conditions"] in which he said that he considered himself the mother's
intellectual superior, that he had doubts about the wisdom of the marriage
and that separation had been discussed on a number of occasions . . . It
is scarcely surprising that with a husband who so regarded her, she
became attached to a man who held her in full regard and affection.
In accordance with Scientology Ethics, an attempt was made by the CoS to resolve
the dispute internally. It has to be said that such resolutions are apparently the norm -
few, if any, internal disputes between Scientologists appear to end up in the (law)
courts. The Scientology "Chaplain's Court" (the body responsible for arbitrating such
disputes) began a hearing in May 1980. The decision - described as an
"agreement", though it was more accurately a binding judgement - was that custody
should remain with the father:
As to the custody agreements in 1978 and l979: The father
attached much weight to them. The mother says that throughout she
wanted the children and believed that it would be better for them to be
with her. She was a committed Scientologist at the time. Scientology
forbids recourse to the law courts of the country save in special
circumstances with permission.... The mother says that she agreed to the
father having custody because of the pressure brought to bear on her by
the father and the Scientologists concerned. The father accepts that she
agreed very reluctantly....
At the time of the separation B was aged just five and G not
Had the dispute come to court one cannot be sure, of course, what the
decision would have been, but it is not unlikely that children so young
would have been put in the care of a good and devoted mother as this
one is and always has been.
. . . As to the "Chaplain's" decision: There were
written submissions and
some oral hearings. It is noteworthy that from start to finish the father's
submission is couched in Scientology terminology and stresses all he
and the stepmother have done for Scientology, how correctly they have
complied with Scientology "ethics" and how the mother has offended
against those "ethics." The Chaplain, of course, was a Scientology
The mother subsequently disagreed with the decision, and Latey comments:
Both the mother and stepfather wanted to come to Court and in
May l980 she was given permission to do so by the "Assistant Guardian"
on condition that Scientology would not be involved. But the father
intervened with the Guardian and the permission was withdrawn.
This appears to have galvanised the mother and stepfather into "blowing". In
summer of 1982, the mother decided to take desperate action. The children stayed
with the mother that summer, and she decided to keep them, despite the previous
"agreements". She fled to the United States, and the father followed her, taking the
children back to England with him. The custody battle then went to law. Justice Latey
continued, having admitted that were it not for the father's adherence to Scientology
he would have ruled that the children stay with him:
What then is the Scientology factor and what weight should be
it? "Horrendous." "Sinister." "A lot of rotten apples in it." Those words are
not mine. They are the father's own words, describing practices of the
Cult and what it does to people inside it and outside it. "A lot of villains in
it." "Dreadful things have been done in the name of Scientology." These
words are not mine. They are the words of the father's counsel.
Scientology was clearly the key issue in the case. Would the children be harmed by
it? Latey made clear first, though, that he was not trying to suppress Scientology; no
reasonable person could possibly disagree with his call for religious tolerance:
Some might regard this as an extension of the entertaining
which Hubbard used to write before he invented and founded the cult . . .
But in an open society, such as ours, people can believe what they want
to and band together and promulgate their beliefs. If people believe that
the earth is flat there is nothing to stop them believing so, saying so and
joining together to persuade others.
He then quoted the evidence given by American psychiatrist Dr. John Gordon Clark
during the trial:
Auditing is a simple, thoroughly designed means of
mind to a state of a controlled trance The aim and result is progressively
to enforce loyalty to and identification with Scientology to the detriment of
one's natural awareness of divergent ways of thinking and outside cultural
influences. Love and allegiance are more and more given to Scientology
and L. Ron Hubbard.
Justice Latey further wrote that "In blunt language 'auditing' is a process of
conditioning, brainwashing and indoctrination."
At about the same time, the Armstrong case, about the ownership of Hubbard's
private papers, was in the Californian courts, and the truth about Hubbard's life was
emerging in abundant detail. Referring to these papers (which were later to form the
core of Russell Miller's superb "Bare-Faced Messiah"), Justice Latey compared the
truth about Hubbard with the Church's published claims:
To promote himself and the cult he has made these, among other
That he was a much decorated war hero. He was not.
That he commanded a corvette squadron. He did not.
That he was awarded the Purple Heart, a gallantry decoration for those
wounded in action. He was not wounded and was not decorated.
That he was crippled and blinded in the war and cured himself with
Dianetic techniques. He was not crippled and was not blinded.
That he was sent by U.S. Naval Intelligence to break up a black magic
ring in California. He was not. He was himself a member of that occult
group and practised ritual sexual magic in it.
That he was a graduate of George Washington University and an atomic
physicist. The facts are that he completed only one year of college and
failed the one course on nuclear physics in which he enrolled.
There is no dispute about any of this. The evidence is
unchallenged. . . .
Hubbard has described himself as "Dr. Hubbard." The only doctorate he
has held is a self-bestowed "doctorate" in Scientology. . . . Mr. Hubbard is
a charlatan and worse, as are his wife Mary Sue Hubbard . . . and the
clique at the top privy to the Cult's activities.
Further on Justice Latey spoke of "Confessional auditing":
Contrary to the assurance of confidentiality, all
"auditing" files are
available to Scientology's intelligence and enforcement bureau [the Office
of Special Affairs] and are used, if necessary, to control and extort
obedience from the person who was audited. If a person seeks to escape
from Scientology his auditing files are taken by the intelligence bureau
and used, if wished, to pressure him into silence. They are often so used
and uncontraverted evidence of this has been given at this hearing.
. . . It is no surprise that to escape from the clutches of
for great courage and resolution. The stranglehold is tight and unrelenting
and the discipline ruthless. And of course there is the anguish of
conscience in the escaper after usually many years of commitment to
Justice Latey went on to read "TR-L" ("Training Routine Lying")
into the record. This
is a drill used in the training of Guardian's Office staff members. Its purpose is to
enable the trainee to lie in a convincing fashion. Much of a Hubbard Policy Letter, of
August 15, 1960, was also read into the record. It contains the statement: "If attacked
on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any organization, always find or
manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue peace . . . Don't ever
defend. Always attack."
Then Justice Latey read from a Guardian's Order of March 9, 1970 headed "Re:
Successful and Unsuccessful Actions." Among the successful actions was seeking
out the criminal acts of "traitors" (easy to do if you have their auditing folders). The
Order describes a cross-filing system used to keep track information on "traitors".
GO staff were to create a fictitious company (a press agency was recommended)
and use letterheaded paper to make inquiries. Information is better disclosed through
phone calls than through personal visits. Sexual favours to members of governments
had apparently also been successful. Hostile groups could be infiltrated and
documents stolen. Letters could be forged for purposes of character assassination
(as with the Paulette Cooper and "Henry" forgeries). Anonymous reports can be
made to the tax authorities.
Justice Latey moved on to life inside Scientology:
Discipline is ruthless and obedience has to be unquestioning.
Scientologists working on the staff are required to work inordinately long
hours for their keep and a pittance . . .
Scientology must come first before family or friends. Much
been given and not disputed of how it leads to alienation of one spouse
from another, of alienation from children and from friends.
Another witness, Mrs. B, was a Scientologist from 1972 and
in the organization. She had a three year old daughter. Nonetheless, for a
period of months she was required to work from 8:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. She
was allowed only fifteen minutes daily to put her daughter to bed. On one
occasion when the child broke her arm and she took her to the doctor she
was directed to work all night as a penalty.
In January 1982, Mrs. B was made Commanding Officer of the
Organization, Saint Hill U.K. Foundation. At around this time the
Commodore's Messenger's Org . . . in the United States were originating
an increasing number of international directives which seemed to her
wrong or bad. She wrote a report addressing it to L. Ron Hubbard. Eight
days later in November 1982, she was removed from her post and
assigned to the "RPF" (Rehabilitation Project Force). She was refused
counseling, required to do at least twelve hours physical work a day
(shitting bricks, emptying bins etc.) and to communicate with no one,
except to receive orders. The work aggravated a chronic back condition.
When she protested she was threatened with being declared a
"Suppressive Person" . . . Her time with her children was limited to one
half hour per day.
Another witness worked at Flag [in Florida] and became an
Hubbard Public Relations Officer," one of only three in the world and a
high appointment. In 1977 she declined to undertake a mission that would
cause her to leave her young daughter for at least two months. She was
shouted at and abused because she put the care of her child first. She
was subjected to a Committee of Evidence (disciplinary tribunal). She left
Those are a few of many illustrations, proved in evidence, of
and inhuman disciplinary measures.
Justice Latey then quoted from an Ethics Policy Letter, and from the 1968
"cancellation" of "Fair Game." (The name was cancelled, not the policy.) He gave the
following example to demonstrate that the "Fair Game Policy" (that a Suppressive
can be "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed") was still in force after its apparent
Beginning in 1977 the Church of Scientology has conducted a
of persecution against Dr. Clark. They wrote letters to the Dean at the
Harvard Medical School and to the Director of the Massachusetts
General Hospital. Then the Dean and the Director refused to gag him.
Their [the Church's] agents tracked down and telephoned several of his
patient, and interviewed his neighbors looking for evidence to impugn his
private or personal actions. They submitted a critical report to a
Committee of the Massachusetts State Senate. On three occasions
during the last five years a Scientology "front" called the Citizens'
Commission on Human Rights have brought complaints against him to
the Massachusetts Medical Board of Registration alleging improper
professional conduct. In l980 he was declared "Number One Enemy" and
in 1981 they brought two law suits against him (summarily dismissed, but
costly and worrying). They distributed leaflets in the Massachusetts
General Hospital offering a $25,000 reward to employees for evidence
which would lead to his conviction on any charge of criminal activity. They
stole his employment record from another Boston hospital. They
convened press conferences calculated to ruin his professional
Amongst the more laughable attacks on Clark was the attempt in Germany to bring
an action against him under the International Convention for the Prevention of
Genocide, on the grounds that he was "spreading theories that more than half the
members of new religions were mentally ill, and was acting in a similar way to Nazi
psychiatrists when they were engaged in annihilating religious minorities." Needless
to say, this was thrown out of court almost immediately.
Justice Latey quoted Hubbard: "The law can be used very easily to harass,"
A sad episode during the hearing was the evidence of a young
is greatly gifted and did exceptionally well at school and University. His
parents are Scientologists, as are his brother and sister. They are all
totally committed. He did his first simple course at the age of six, and a
further basic course, "The Hubbard Qualified Scientologist Course," two
years later. Since then he has continued with course after course . . . It
became apparent that he simply could not accept that there was or could
be anything wrong with Scientology. The part of his mind which would
otherwise have been capable of weighing objectively the criticisms of
Scientology had been blocked out by the processing. He has indeed
In his conclusion as to Scientology itself, Justice Latey had this to say:
Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious.... In my
is corrupt, sinister and dangerous. It is corrupt because it is based on lies
and deceit and has as its real objective money and power for Mr.
Hubbard, his wife and those close to him at the top. It is sinister because
it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the
line unquestioningly, and to those who criticise or oppose it. It is
dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and
impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so
that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult,
withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others.
Mr. Justice Latey awarded custody of the children to the mother. Late in the hearing
the father had made a startling proposal: he and his new wife would abandon
Scientology until the children had grown up. It was moving, not because he would
have to abandon Scientology, but because for making such a suggestion in court he
risked being ostracised by the Scientology Church and community, whatever the
outcome. Latey felt that because the father and his new wife were committed
Scientologists, their removal from East Grinstead and from the Church, would not be
The baleful influence of the 'Church' would in reality still
be there and the
children would remain gravely at risk.
The Justice also gave two very telling examples of that "baleful influence":
Recently B asked his mother whether he could have a certain
stay for the weekend with him "because he's the only one whose parents
will let him come to your house."
Recently G asked her mother why she was not a Scientologist.
mother pointed out that people could be good people without being
Scientologists and observed that two widely respected personages in
whom G is interested were not Scientologists. To this G replied "they
would be better if they were."
What subsequently happened to the father is not known, but it is highly likely that he
was sent to the RPF.
The case caused some spectacularly bad headlines for Scientology; it had managed
to keep a relatively low profile in the UK since the end of the immigration ban on its
members in 1980, but the child custody case wrecked that strategy (at least
temporarily). The CoS later admitted that they were "wrong-footed" in not recognising
the danger early enough. With the condemnation of the leader-writers in their ears,
the CoS took charge of the case in an attempt to salvage something. In September
1984, they took it to the Court of Appeal, on the grounds that the issue of Scientology
had figured too prominently in the case.
Subsequently, they claimed that the appeal judges had upheld their arguments. A
pamphlet dated 16th October 1984 - and still the standard Scientology line on the
case - claims that Lord Justice Dunn and Lord Justice Purchas had decided that
Justice Latey's judgement had been "inaccurate and unfair" in six respects. He had
apparently been seen by the Appeal Court to have gone into unnecessary detail
about Scientology, to have erred by giving judgement in open court and breached
natural justice by condemning Scientology unheard.
Unfortunately for Scientology, this is nothing more than another "shore
Andy). The actual transcript of the Appeal Court judgement of Wednesday 19
September 1984 shows that the court upheld Justice Latey in every single respect.
The nearest it came to criticising him was the following:
. . . it was, of course, a matter for the learned judge
whether or not he
gave judgement in open court. It was not necessary for him to have done
so, and it was unfortunate that he gave as one of his reasons for doing so
the protection of the public as well as the other reason, that is to say, the
importance of the reasons for his decision being publicly known so as to
avoid rumour and speculation.
"Unfortunate" it may have been, but even so, Lord Justice Dunn stated unequivocally:
I cannot say that he was wrong to do so.
Lord Justice Dunn went on,
The judge having made the findings which he did about the
Scientology, which were not challenged in this appeal and the judge
having refused to accept the father's assurances, I can find no ground on
which this court could interfere with the judgement and the appeal is
Stewart Lamont highlights this example to "illustrate the misinterpretation
by the Church of Scientology and the unreliability of the so-called documentation
which is supplied in rebuttal of charges against it or in order to discredit its
adversaries." He also makes an observation which I think is particularly apposite in
the light of Andrew Milne's reaction to the recent Wollersheim and Lerma judgements:
. . . it would appear that to Scientologists, the decision of
a court means
what they want it to mean.
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