Charge Dismissed

Source: Gazette
Date: November 20, 1986

For the second time, charges brought against the Church of Scientology have been struck down.

The church was accused of violating Quebec's Consumer Protection Act in dealings with two prospective members.

The indictments, filed by the Consumer Protection Office, alleged that the two were forced to make full payment for personality courses before the lessons began.

The office also contended the church failed to provide the two potential members with written contracts, as required in any normal business transaction.

Lawyers Michel Proulx and Richard Masson, arguing for the church, contended it was wrong to proceed in two cases at the same time.

In a decision last spring, Sessions Court Judge Benjamin Schecter upheld the lawyer's objection.

The same charges were then brought before Sessions Court Judge Jean Sirois, with the same results.

Sirois noted there had been no change in the wording of the charges, despite another defence motion that the indictments were imprecise and contained insufficient details.

Marc Bergeron, a lawyer acting for the consumer office, said he has two options: "We can appeal this last decision or file new charges."

Bergeron said he has dozens of similar complaints on which to base a new test case.

Prospective members, in the most recent cases, testified they paid a total of $18,000 for the courses.

Proulx argued that details of the alleged infraction were not included in the charges.

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