Ruby Outlines Case For Scientologists
Date: April 22, 1992
Defence lawyer suggests wrong people accused as breach-of-trust trial opens
by Thomas Claridge
The successful prosecution of senior members of the Church of Scientology in the United States was held out yesterday as a basis for acquitting five Scientologists and the Toronto affiliate of criminal breach-of-trust charges.
In an opening address to an Ontario Court jury, defence lawyer Clayton Ruby said the Ontario and U.S. charges both involved improper activities during the 1970s by the organization's Guardian's Office. The office was under the direction of Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Mr. Ruby said that in the United States, authorities had alleged that Mrs. Hubbard and 10 senior members of the British-based Guardian's Office Worldwide were involved in a conspiracy to steal U.S. government documents about Scientology. (All were convicted. Mrs. Hubbard was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $10,000 (U.S.) for her role in the conspiracy.) But the lawyer told the jury that the Ontario charges were laid against the Toronto organization itself and individuals who did not hold senior positions in the Guardian's Office.
At one point drawing criticism from Mr. Justice James Southey for delivering what "sounds like a sermon on Scientology," Mr. Ruby used organizational charts to underline assertions that until the early 1980s, the Toronto organization had no control over operations of the Guardian's Office.
Earlier, prosecutor James Stewart said his star witness will be the man who was once the senior Guardian's Office official for Canada.
Bryan Levman, who is expected to testify today, was described by Mr. Stewart as a man who became interested in Scientology as a 20-year-old student, and quickly rose through its ranks to become deputy guardian for Canada.
"He was in a position to tell you what was going on," the Crown prosecutor said.
He said Mr. Levman will tell the trial that he left the position after a trip to Britain to discuss differences with the Guardian's Office Worldwide, then run by Mrs. Hubbard. Although Mr. Levman continued as a Scientologist in good standing, he was drummed out of the organization in February, 1982.
Mr. Stewart said he expects the witness to describe how the organization decided to infiltrate the Ontario Provincial Police in 1974. He said four other former Guardian's Office officials will provide similar evidence on espionage activities within the RCMP, Metropolitan Toronto Police and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General.
One of the four, Emile Gilbert, was described by the prosecutor as a former Roman Catholic seminarian who turned to Scientology and eventually joined the Guardian's Office in Toronto, marrying one of its officers. He, too, was later expelled from the organization.
Mr. Stewart said the jury will hear evidence that infiltration of the Attorney-General's Ministry involved two Scientology "plants" who worked together on obtaining information from government files.
Another proposed Crown witness, Metro Police Sergeant Barbara Taylor, is expected to describe her role in a police counterintelligence operation. Mr. Stewart said that as an undercover officer, she joined the organization and wound up being hired by the Guardian's Office intelligence bureau.
Mr. Ruby, who is representing the Toronto organization along with law partner Marlys Edwardh, told the jurors they would find themselves standing "between church and state" on ground "that has been fought over for centuries."
Although making no attempt to minimize the illegal activities, which he described several times as crimes, the lawyer suggested that the wrong people were on trial.
He said that under the organization's arrangement, "the Guardian's Office could give orders to the Church of Scientology, Toronto, but the Church of Scientology, Toronto, could never give an order to anyone in the Guardian's Office, no matter how low or how high."
Mr. Ruby said evidence at the trial will show not only that all instructions for the espionage activities came from the Guardian's Office but that the information was all kept in the office, which could not be entered by organization members except in the company of a Guardian's Office member.
Describing the key prosecution witnesses as all "confessed liars and criminals," the lawyer said all had received special training in how to lie and had agreed to become Crown witnesses only on being guaranteed immunity from prosecution.
He suggested that anyone "willing to lie, steal and cheat for the Guardian's Office Worldwide" would be just as willing to lie in the witness box.
The trial is expected to last about two months.