France: Scientology appeal trial Nov. 3 - Dec. 1, 2011

Discussion in 'Media' started by mnql1, May 9, 2011.

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  1. Quentinanon Member

    Right, the judicial process is not adversarial, rather inquisitorial. And Continental Legal System = Roman Law.
  2. Anonymous Member

  3. Aurora Member

    I am confuzed. In France you can get jail time in a civil suit? And fines?
  4. Albion Member

    This is a criminal case, not a civil suit.

    Nothing much to report from today's hearing, except that UNADFI's
    lawyer has said that UNADFI president Catherine Picard wants to
    give evidence, as she did at the original trial.

    • Like Like x 3
  5. That's the woman who gave her name to About-Picard law, isn't it?

    Also, pic doublerelated

    • Like Like x 3
  6. mnql1 Member

    Translation of a comment by Olivier Saumon, the attorney representing the National Council of the Order of Pharmacists, a plaintiff at both the first trial and the appeal trial, regarding the walk-out of Scientology's lawyers and defendants from the appeal trial on Nov. 17, 2011:
    An article posted on Nov. 17, 2011 on the website points out that two other cases against Scientology are pending.

    The first case concerns a private school, Institut Aubert de Vincennes, which is accused of having taught Scientology precepts while the parents of the pupils had no knowledge of this. A French article dated May 11, 2011 reported that the judicial investigation is nearing completion and that the prosecutor's office in Créteil recommended that four persons stand trial. This case began in 1998 and the school is now closed.

    The second case is based on the complaint filed by ex-Scientologist Alain Stoffen and is still under investigation. A French article dated June 17, 2009 gives a brief timeline:
    - Nov. 4, 1960: Alain Stoffen born in Etterbeek, Belgium.
    - Oct. 1985: First Scientology "course".
    - 1994: Met his wife.
    - 1998: Birth of their son.
    - 1999: Marriage ends in separation.
    - 2001: Discovers his "ethics file" and how he was manipulated.
    - 2002: Files a complaint.
    - Sept. 2006: The investigating judge dismisses the case.
    - May 2007: The appeal court invalidates the dismissal and the investigation is resumed.
    • Like Like x 8
  7. heatberd Member

    This is the end, their only friend.
  8. Sponge Member

    I think the confusion is because UNADFI has been described as a "civil party" in some of the media reports, which probably sounds a bit odd at first glance along with some of the worst of the robot google translations (thank xenu for you, Jonny, and mnql1), but there is an explanation for that.
    You can have a civil party in a French criminal trial. i.e. it's not the state, in the form of the public prosecutor, that initiated the filed charges but rather it is a private party that's bringing the prosecution. An "Action Civile" is filed with the magistrate as a private criminal action. The public prosecutor actually proceeds with the action as a regular criminal case. This makes me sound really clever but it's only what I managed to tease out of google in bits, here'n'there, so I still could be wrong or over-simplifying it. Not just victims of a crime can file or enjoin an action civile but organisations that represent the victim's interests, individually or as a class, and this is the thing that seems to have got scientology's knickers in a knot.

    Thanks for the updates Jonny and mnql1
    • Like Like x 7
  9. Albion Member

    Didn't mean to be quite so abrupt, but had to go to work.

    The partie civile bit is confusing: I've translated that as
    plaintiffs which perhaps has confused people still further.
    Perhaps best to view them as the injured parties.
    The whole point of the current row is whether UNADFI can be
    considered as injured parties or just someone with a stake in the
    proceedings, an axe to grind, which of itself isn't enough to qualify
    as partie civile -- that's the point the defence has been trying to

    The very same. See my link to her testimony in the original trial for
    more details.

    Another thing that may have thrown people on the civil/criminal thing
    is the lack of a jury. There are three categories of criminal offences in
    France: in ascending order of seriousness, they are contraventions,
    délits and crimes. Juries are only used in the most serious category,
    les crimes. The offences in this case fall into the second category of
    délit, so we have a full-time judge and two assisant judges only.

    See here for a brief summary.

    @ Bozuri

    I don't know enough about French law to say if it the idea of equality of arms is
    an integral part of its system -- though presumably something like it exists. This
    may have been imported from European law, where it certainly does feature --
    which may give us an clue as to where Scientology wants to take this.
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Anonymous Member

    If it's a criminal case, then I'm confused how did Scientology managed to get the other 4 plaintiffs to drop out of the case. Isn't it the prerogative of the Prosecution? [Sorry, I come from a common law system, I don't understand much about civil law].

    Also, if those 4 civil parties joined the criminal case, would it then mean that even if all of them drop out, the state will still pursue the case?
    • Like Like x 1
  11. mnql1 Member

    Translation of a French article posted on Nov. 18, 2011 on the website of Le Figaro:
    Comment la Scientologie a sapé son procès
    • Like Like x 5
  12. Albion Member

    Once a prosecution is underway, even if the injured parties
    withdraw their complaints the prosecution can still go ahead.
    And even if they all settle before the investigation is complete,
    the prosecutor can still choose to go ahead (at least I think
    so: let me get back to you on that).

    But if it does go to trial without the injured parties in court to
    tell their stories, clearly that robs the case of a lot of its
    emotional power and probably makes it more difficult to get a
    conviction. Aude-Claire Malton's testimony was particularly powerful
    in the original trial, and the defence lawyers were careful not to go in
    hard against her, reserving their venom for Morice, her lawyer (who
    also represents UNADFI).

    Have another look at my summary of the original judgment: that shows
    convictions for two defendants against one of the plaintiffs, or injured
    parties, who was among the first to file a complaint but had actually
    withdrawn from proceedings before it had even got to court. Despite
    his withdrawal however, his story was told in court, both at the original
    trial and in the court of appeal: at the last hearing, on Friday, the judge
    quoted his original interviews with the investigating magistrate in some
    detail together with a fairly devastating letter he had written to Scientology
    denouncing them when he first became disaffected with them. (For
    details, see The Defendant Michaux from coverage of the original trial.)

    So lawyer(s) of the injured parties act independently of the prosecutor: they
    are two distinct legal players. And the prosecution acts independently of the
    injured parties, representing not them, but the state.
    • Like Like x 7
  13. RightOn Member

    It's ironic that the defendants bring COS to court and sue them for all the money they were bilked out of.... then they choose money in the end instead of sticking to their guns. This would have helped many other people in the same situation to come forward and possibly do the same.
    And it would also help people from not joining in the first place.

    Although I am not in their shoes and I can't begin to know what they went through and what they are still going though with the COS.... I am dissappoint.
    Maybe they just felt TOO much pleasure of the thought of COS paying THEM, or they thought they were going to lose.
    Either or... again I am dissappoint.

    thanks mnql1 and Albion for your posts and translations!
    • Like Like x 2
  14. Sponge Member

    Well it doesn't mean that the defendants got off. It still goes ahead. It just means that the judge can't ask of those missing plaintiffs anything extra that he needs to know that is not explained in the case files. If the cult has walked out then, with defendants and their lawyers also missing, it's not so much of an issue because they can't advance their case any more than it already was either. Also, the Order of Pharmacies is still there and I suppose UNADFI is there to fill in some of the answers for the missing victims as a "class".
    Likely result? The conviction stands.
    But then, as Jonny J says, they'll then appeal to the high court (cours de cassation) where they argue points of law and not so much facts of the case.
    • Like Like x 2
  15. [quote="Sponge, post: 1962314"
    But then, as Jonny J says, they'll then appeal to the high court (cours de cassation) where they argue points of law and not so much facts of the case.[/quote]

    Fingers crossed their "points of law" are as valid as their PRQs
  16. Albion Member

    A few interesting developments at today's hearing and outside the

    A few hundred Scientologists gathered opposite the Palais de Justice
    to denounce what they say is a heresy trial and and "justice sous
    influence" -- effectively that someone has influenced the court against
    them. Potentially more important however, is a point of form that Olivier
    Morice, for counter-cult group UNADFI brought. If it is borne out by
    the documents in the case, it could disqualify the appeal brought
    by one of the personnes morales, the Scientology organisations: in this
    case, l'Association Spirituelle de l'Eglise de la Scientologie CC (ASES), or
    the Celebrity Centre.

    ASES was convicted at the original trial of organised fraud. Eric Roux, a leading
    Scientologist in France, appeared to speak for ASES at that trial -- he himself
    was not in anyway implicated in the offences being tried. In court today Morice,
    after hearing the appeal judge summarise the charges against ASES and how it
    had defended itself at the original trial, said he wanted to raise a point of form.

    He reminded the court that earlier in the current proceedings, the defence lawyer
    had tried to get the court to throw out UNADFI's request to be granted the status
    of partie civile -- injured party or plaintiff -- at the trial. Among a number of objections
    raised, one was that UNADFI President Catherine Picard, had not been properly
    mandated to act in court as UNADFI's representative. That, said Morice, had prompted
    him to check the paperwork regarding Eric Roux's standing in the appeal trial.

    He now suggested to the court that the relevant paperwork in which the appeal had
    been lodged had not been properly formulated: that it had been filed in Roux's name
    when he had no standing to represent ASES at the trial on appeal. So while Roux had
    been mandated to represent ASES at the original trial, it was not at all clear to Morice
    that he had been granted the same powers to do the same on appeal. If there was such
    a mandate in the files, he was not he had seen it, he said.

    Morice made it clear that it was the reasoning of his colleagues on the defence side
    that had got him thinking along these lines. So after several days of procedural
    arguments brought by the defence, Morice now appears to have take a leaf out of
    their book.

    Hugues Woirhaye, for the prosecution, seemed a little taken aback by this development,
    but agreed that if the application had not been made out in the required manner then
    that could indeed pose a serious problem.

    The court will now look through the dossier to see if it can find the required document
    mandating Roux in the correct manner. If it is not there, then the appeal, for ASES at
    least, was not filed properly and so does not legally exist: that would mean the original
    judgement and conviction -- so far as ASES is concerned -- becomes definitive. ASES
    could not go to the supreme court (the Cour de Cassation) because they did not fulfil
    the procedural requirements at the appeal stage.

    Earlier Tuesday, Catherine Picard, president of UNADFI gave evidence, as she had at the
    original trial. The main aim was to answer some of the procedural objections brought by
    the defence lawyers before their walk-out last week, of which more perhaps at a later

    The court then continued to consider the evidence before, with the president of the
    court reading out key extracts from the previous trial, the defendants' interviews with
    investigators and key passages from the experts' reports. Olivier Saumon, for the
    National Council for the Order of Pharmacists, set out their case for the charges relating
    to the illegal practice of pharmacy.
    • Like Like x 8
  17. RightOn Member

    thanks Albion!
  18. Sponge Member

    Exciting news Jonny. Thanks for the update.

    They need a damn good trolling.
    • Like Like x 3
  19. DeathHamster Member

    Ha! Hoist with their own foot-petard!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Random guy Member

    What does this mean in terms of time? Will this prolong the case, or will it (potentially) cut it short if found to be true?
  21. *bump* for significance
  22. DeathHamster Member

    Reading further, it could kill the appeal, at least for the Celebrity Centre (ASSES ASES), stone dead or send them back to the start of the process.

    Not sure if like. Bouncing them for not filling out forms correctly rather than giving them a proper legal smackdown doesn't seem as complete and final, and it will be easier for CoS to play it to their American audience as "OMG Biased court! Religious oppression!".
  23. They'll say that anyway, for any outcome except total victory for themselves.
    • Like Like x 2
  24. Sponge Member

    Procès de la scientologie: prévenus et parties civiles s'affrontent à distance
    AFP 22nd Nov 2011

    You can get the gist of it from a google translate. Basically what Jonny Jacobsen said. I'll leave it to the experts if they want to do a proper translation. EDIT: scroll to mnql1's post after mine for a full and proper translation.

    Amazing innit? There they are, crying about injustice and they can't even tell the truth about how many of their own scilons were out there baawing about it.

    Also...... LOL....
    Caption contest
    "You're breaking up Mr.Miscavige.... I suck what on where?"
    • Like Like x 6
  25. mnql1 Member

    Translation of a French article posted on Nov. 22, 2011 on the website of Le nouvel Observateur:
    Procès de la scientologie: prévenus et parties civiles s'affrontent à distance
    • Like Like x 6
  26. Very nice statement from Catherine Picard:
    • Like Like x 6
  27. Clams did a raid?

    Wonder if ParisAnon feel like a counter-troll op?
    • Like Like x 2
  28. BigBeard Member

    First place they'll need to check is the borg's shredder room.

  29. AnonLover Member

    Wow, wait wut... just making sure I'm appreciating ^^This properly in simplest terms:

    Morice, on the plaintiff side of things, pointed out a possible procedural error - that even the prosecution had missed - that can potentially shit can the Celeb Centre end of the appeal?!?!?!?

    • Like Like x 3
  30. Sponge Member

    Send in the Clowns!

    With appropriate body armor, protective headgear and police escort. Punchy Paris scilons are punchy.
    • Like Like x 5
  31. Anonymous Member

  32. Sponge Member

    And just where were they all today? Train strike? BT ate their homework?
    They couldn't even muster 100th of this fictional 45,000. One Hundred was the actual number of meat bodies, according to police, and they should probably count themselves very lucky they got that. Pity anons weren't there to see if any had been bussed in from outside the region/country.
  33. 3rdMan Member

    Now they are claiming 12 million, eh? What, they are now counting anyone who takes a card or pamphlet?
  34. eddieVroom Member

    Next thing, they'll simply claim that everybody on the planet, past present and future, are Scientologists; they just don't remember.
  35. Random guy Member

    I suppose you're right.
  36. Bump!

    Awesome work on this thread, mnql1! Deep appreciation from me! <3 !!!
    • Like Like x 2
  37. Triumph Member

    • Like Like x 5
  38. mnql1 Member

    Two photos of the Nov. 22, 2011 protest by Scientologists outside the Paris court of appeal:


    The smaller signs say: &quot;Biased trial: We won't take it any more&quot;, &quot;Justice for Scientologists&quot;, &quot;No to an unfair trial&quot; and the large sign reads: &quot;Scientology: No to a trial for heresy&quot;

    Source:;xsize=640&amp;ysize=640, via


    Source: http://scientologuescontreladiscrim...logues-pour-denoncer-une-justice-inequitable/ (&lt;dot&gt; inserted because this is a Scientology website)
    • Like Like x 3
  39. Anonymous Member

    The fuck are they going to do about it? Stupid fucking clams. This is French law. They don't like it they can fuck off to California or Florida.
  40. That actually is a fair sized group. I wonder if it's every scientologist in Europe with enough $s to get there. In which case, not so much.
    • Like Like x 1
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