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Scientology trial hears of intrigue and 'plants'

Title: Scientology trial hears of intrigue and 'plants'
Date: Saturday, 16 May 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Author: Wendy Darroch
Main source:

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A tale of intrigue, international espionage and blind dedication has been painted over the past month by a group of senior members with the Church of Scientology of Toronto during the 1970s.

All those testifying had been expelled by the church.

They were given immunity from prosecution for testifying at the trial of five members and the church on charges of criminal breach of trust.

The charges concern "plants" infiltrating the RCMP, OPP, Metro police and the provincial attorney-general's office between April, 1974, and November, 1976.

At times the testimony has been so involved that Mr. Justice James Southey has allowed the Ontario Court, general division, jury of five women and seven men to take notes on court-provided clipboards.

L. Ron Hubbard, a successful science fiction writer, founded the Church of Scientology in the mid-1950s.

At one point he ran the church from aboard his yacht, which plied the waters around Morrocco, Portugal and Tangiers. Later he set up headquarters in southern England, Florida, California and elsewhere.

Marion Envoy, 43, formerly Canada's top official with Scientology, said Hubbard believed there was a world-wide conspiracy against his church run by a band of former Nazis who had overtaken Interpol — the European-based International police organization.

He thought the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were part of the conspiracy, Envoy said.

Another senior member, Bryant Levman, said the church saw itself as being persecuted by police, government agencies and mental health groups "as a cult ensnaring young, impressionable minds and all their money," he testified.

Envoy claimed that Hubbard ordered a world-wide spy operation, code-named "Snow White."

She said that she and her co-workers believed they should do whatever was necessary to protect Scientology. As far as they were concerned, committing criminal acts was not against any church code.

Levman said Hubbard created the Guardians Office as a separate branch of the church to battle those who were seen as enemies to the church.

He claimed that during a briefing in England in 1973, he was given a list of 12 agencies, mostly police, which he was expected to infiltrate.

He told the jury that Metro police Sergeant John Fallis, who investigated the organization, was targeted.

John Bradley was named as a church member who infiltrated the premises by joining the company that cleaned the police offices. Marilyn Patrick got a position with the police and together the two of them photocopied pertinent documents for the church, Levman said.

He said defendant Jacqueline Matz ran the agents. Another defendant, Jaan Joot, did intelligence gathering and defendant Janice Wheeler was the plant used to infiltrate the provincial attorney-general's office, court was told.

Members of the Guardian's Office, which was in charge of intelligence for the church, were completely indoctrinated to believe everything they did was 100 per cent right, Levman has testified.

He said the Guardians Office conducted its activities secretly and did not inform members of the local Scientology chapter.

However, he insisted that after every successful operation the Guardians Office in England was immediately informed by telex through an elaborate code system.

A number of witnesses have testified about being planted in police offices and stealing, or memorizing, information from private files.

They were not allowed to have any contact with the church while they were spying, court heard. They met their "case workers" in restaurants where documents would be passed over and returned within an hour, one witness said.

Another said she hid documents in her purse to carry them in and out of the OPP offices.

The "plants" would also meet at a place called the "garden" where the secret information was amassed and filed, evidence showed.

At one point it was over a garage behind some houses at Dupont and Davenport Aves., former agent Kathy Smith said. It later moved to a warehouse at King and Parliament Sts.

Smith said she wrote a letter to Hubbard outlining all the illegal activity she was involved in and received a note of congratulations back, signed Ron.

She admitted that she didn't know what Hubbard's handwriting looked like. She added that Hubbard could have had other people detailed to read and reply to church mail.

Diane Fairfield testified about recruiting people to infiltrate the RCMP and the Metro police force and spoke of a Scientology spy in the Ottawa tax office of Revenue Canada.

Envoy said that as part of her spy training she was put in a closet with a set of picks and told to unlock the door.

Many of the witnesses said they had been on Hubbard's yacht, or in his place in England or Florida during their years with the church.

Defence counsel Clayton Ruby showed Envoy a document he suggested was the basis for the Snow White program and pointed out it specified using only legal means.

She said it appeared to be a version of the program intended for the legal department.

Levman said he authorized illegal acts such as breaking into government offices, legal premises and law enforcement agencies.

He also said some of the people on trial were his underlings taking orders from him, but he laid the blame on church policy and on Hubbard, who died in 1986.

Levman said he had never received any written instructions from Hubbard directing him to commit crimes in order to gather intelligence.

But a document from Hubbard on the subject didn't say anything about not committing such acts, Levman said.

The trial is to continue on Tuesday and is expected to go into July.

[Pictures / Caption: L. Ron Hubbard; Clayton Ruby.]

Copyright 1992 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.