Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism

The Latey Judgement

In 1984 a High Court Judge, hearing a custody battle between a Scientologist father and ex-Scientologist mother and step-father, gave a damning opinion of the Scientology organisation:

"Scientology is both immoral and socially obnoxious.... In my judgement it 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young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living and relationships with others." [emphasis added]

The judgement was based on extensive consideration of internal Scientology documents and testimony from past and present Scientologists. The point was to examine whether the boy and girl in the custody battle would be harmed by being brought up in Scientology:

"Discipline is ruthless and obedience has to be unquestioning."
"The auditing - the processing - begins at an early age. [...] In "The Second Dynamic" 1982 edition under the heading "Children's Confessional Ages 6 - 12" is a "processing check for use on children". It is a very long and vigorous interrogation. [...] I agree with Dr. Clark [an expert witness] that "Scientology training is training for slavery"."

Referring to the threats used by the Scientology's leaders to get missions producing money he said:

"it is grimly reminiscent of the ranting and bullying of Hitler and his henchmen"

Mr. Justice Latey addressed many different aspects of the Scientology: its origin and goals, the history of L. Ron Hubbard and the way the organisation deals with dissent and opposition. Here he addresses the alleged confidentiality of Scientology confessionals:

"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."

About the Disconnection policy, Latey wrote that "Very many examples have been given and proved in evidence." As examples, he reproduced two disconnection letters. One is written by a Scientologist to his fiancée. In the other a man writes to his business partner and former friend, "What you are now doing in setting yourself against the Church is not only very suppressive but also non-survival for you, your family and any group you are associated with."

Context of the case

The case is covered in a section of Jon Atack's book "A Piece of Blue Sky" (online extract).

The full judgement (Re B & G (Minors) [1985] Family Law Reports 134 and 493) is online here: (Latey Judgement at HolySmoke.org), (Latey Judgement at Operation Clambake)

The judgement went to appeal. See Re: B & G (Minors) (Custody) - Court of Appeal, 1984 (online at Operation Clambake), (online at WhyAreTheyDead.net). Statements by Scientology spokesman Graeme Wilson give the impression that the appeal court judges overturned Justice Latey. In fact, the three judges upheld all of the substance of his judgement.

Media Coverage

Up: Martin Poulter > Scientology Criticism