Error Leads To Mistrial

Source: Gazette (Montreal)
Date: April 4, 1986

A technical error by Quebec's Consumer Protection Office led to a mistrial yesterday in the trial of a sect accused of illegally receiving $18,000 from two prospective members.

The Church of Scientology was charged with demanding that two novices make full payment for lessons in personality development before the courses began, and with not giving them written contracts.

Sessions Court Judge Benjamin Schecter said it was prejudicial and "eminently unfair" to the sect that it be tried in two cases at the same time.

Schecter said there was a danger that the combined effect of the evidence he had heard in the two cases could influence his impartiality and ability to reach a fair verdict.

The lawyer for the Consumer Protection Office told reporters later that despite his "technical error," new charges will be brought against the church.

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