JP's comment as ex-student is cleared of theft
East Grinstead Courier, Thursday 13 June 1968
Hearing how Scientologists "audited" members who knew or mentioned people "disconnected" from the organisation, chairman of East Grinstead magistrates, Mr Antony Evans said: "It sounds like brainwashing to me."
And the defendant and a witness in the case being heard by the court on Tuesday asked for their addresses to be kept secret to avoid persecution by members of the organisation.
After a five-hour hearing the magistrates dismissed a case brought against former Scientologist Mr Maurice Johnson of South Shields, by the Scientologists, who accused him of stealing a uniform consisting of a blaser and two pairs of trousers from the Church of Scientology of California. He pleaded not guilty.
Mr Medawar, for the Scientologists, claimed that on leaving the employ of the Scientology organisation in June 1966, Mr Johnson had not returned, as he should, the blazer and trousers he had been issued with.
Mr Medawar called various Scientologists employed at the Saint Hill Manor headquarters of the organisation. The first was Mrs Monica Mary Qualino, of 16 Coronation Road, East Grinstead, who said she had been a secretary with ths Church of Scientology at the time Mr Johnson was emplyed there.
He had been declared a "suppressive person" which meant he was anti-social. He was also listed as "fair game" - outside the protection of the organisation which looked after its members.
Mr Herbert George Parkhouse, of 47 Hermitage Road, East Grinstead, said he had demanded and asked for Mr Johnson's dismissal. He had spoken to him in the High Street and gone over the reasons for his dismissal and told Mr Johnson he had better get the uniform back, fast.
In answer to defending solicitor Mr Harold Tavroges, Mr Parkhouse said he had been requested by the ethics department of the organisation to issue the summons against Mr Johnson.
Mr Parkhouse said that if a person was a "suppressive" he would not do "a darned thing for him - either as a Scientologist or as a human being."
He alleged he had gone back to Saint Hill at 11.30 one night and seen Mr Johnson extracting letters of criticism and complaint from various folders. Mr Johnson had said he was putting these into dead files, but this was strictly off policy.
Mr Parkhouse claimed Mr Johnson had been unable to give a satisfactory explanation why he was doing this so he had taken the keys of the filing cabinets and the room from him.
Mr Evans said the defence was alleging that it was a trumped up case. "One would have thought that an organisatoin of your size would have ceased to be interested in a blazer and a couple of pair of trousers after so long a time," he added.
'100 letters of hate' says ex-Scientologist
Mr Evans said he could not understand why the summons had not been taken out by the Scientologists' legal or ethics department.
During a lunch-time adjournment, copies of a Scientology dictionary were handed to the magistrates and defending counsel to read. On the resumption, Mr Tavroges pointed out that a man with the Scientologists had been sitting immediately outside the courtroom door with a camera at the ready to take photographs.
Mr Evans then said the magistrates regarded the whole of East Court as being within the precincts of the court. No one could take photographs in this area
Before giving audience, Mr Johnson said he did not want to divulge his address in open court. He was allowed by the magistrates to put his address on a piece of paper and handed it to the magistrates. He said he was emplyed by the organisation in July 1965. His job was mainly connected with the central files.
He had handed back his uniform for alteration and had never seen it since.
Mr Johnson told the court that having worked in central files and seen what was subsequently described in newspapers as an "evil cult," he decided that in no circumstances would he work any longer in the organisation.
Mr Parkhouse, he maintained, had never seen him at Saint Hill late at night. He finished work at the manor at 6.30 pm and caught the minibus service to town. He denied that any such a scene as described by Mr Parkhouse had occurred.
He was so disgusted with the organisation that he would have left immediately, but he intended to work his formal week's notice as required by law.
But an ethics order declaring him a "suppressive" was read to him by Mrs Val Wigney and he was escorted from the premises by a man called Neville Chamberlain after he had asked to and got his insurance cards.
Since he had left the organisation he had received over 100 letters from Scientologists. They were abusive and the main theme was hate.
He had issued a writ in the High Court against the Scietnologists for the return of the fees he had paid for a course in mental therapy. The Scientologists had resisted the writ, but he had been successful.
A batch of letters sent to Mr Johnson were handed up to the magistrates. On reading through them, Mr Evans commented that they appeared to be written by people feeling very strongly about something judging by their langauge.
"The organisation is rather bizarre. Sometimes you would receive five or six letters of disconnect from the same person. If my address is divulged I will get more abusive letters," explained Mr Johnson.
"Anyone who knew me or mentioned my name would be audited. They would have to go for a check on an E-meter and disconnect from me."
Mr Evans said: "It sounds like brainwashing to me."
Mr Arthur Reuben Naylor, a witness for the defence, asked if he could give his address by writing it on paper. He had, he said, never seen Mr Johnson, who he
[paper copy is damaged at this point]
told by the clerk, Mr Francis Nutall, that he had no choice but to give evidence.
Mr Cunningham said he had never seen Maurice Johnson in a Scientology blazer.
The letter he wrote disconnecting himself from Mr Johnson was obligatory. He also understood that it was written in the strict confidence that it would not be used outside the organisation.
"At the time of writing it I was under a mild form of psychological duress," said Mr Cunningham.