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Cult threatens to sue on book

Sunday Times 01 Nov 87


THE CHURCH of Scientology cult has threatened worldwide legal action against The Sunday Times in an attempt to prevent the newspaper today publishing extracts of a new book on its founder, writes Richard Palmer. Lawyers representing the church last week said they would sue The Sunday Times and its distributors in more than 50 countries if extracts of a book by Russell Miller, published into today's Sunday Times, breach the copyright of the estate of the late L Ron Hubbard, scientology's founder.

The threats of legal action are the latest in a campaign of harassment against The Sunday Times and Miller, the author of Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L Hubbard.

Scientologists have employed lawyers and private detectives to mount legal and personal attacks on Miller and his sources to try to discredit him and prevent publication of the biography.

The book, which challenges official scientology accounts of Hubbard's life and work, was published in Britain last week after the cult failed to obtain an injunction delaying publication in the High Court and the Court of Appeal in London.

The attempt to block publication was described by Mr Justice Vinelott as 'mischievous and misconceived', and his judgement was upheld by Lord Justice Fox 10 days ago.

Extracts of the book are published on page 55 of today's Sunday Times. Lawyers for the newspaper said the extracts do not breach the copyright of Hubbard's estate.

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