The West Australian, Sat 12 Apr 1969, p1, p9
The Hubbard Association of Scientologists International Inc. yesterday was fined $200 on a charge of having practiced scientology.
Magistrate D. J. O'Dea granted a stay of execution.
It was the first prosecution against scientology since a bill banning its practice was passed by the W.A. parliament last November.
Mr O'Dea, giving a reserved decision in the Perth Court of Petty Sessions, said: "I am satisfied on the evidence that the defendant did between the relevant dates practise scientology as charged and will be convicted."
He said that the action was unusual not only because it was the first of its kind, but also because it concerned an attempt by the crown to prove that the organisation had practised scientology as defined in the act - when the act itself proscribed the organisation and included in its definition of scientology a direct reference to the organisation as a prime disseminator.
"The act appears to postulate what the crown seeks to prove," he said.
"Despite this I see it as my function to decide whether on the evidence the crown has established beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant company, between November 13, 1968, and January 28, 1969, at Perth did practise scientology."
He said that a formidable amount of evidence and a vast number of exhibits had been produced by the crown. The defendant had called no evidence.
From this mass of evidence and material - seized in a police raid on the organisation's premises in Hay-street, Perth, on January 28 - there emerged direct evidence that the defendant was a foreign company and that its agent in W.A. was Michael Thomas Graham, of Newnham-street, Leederville.
Magistrate O'Dea said that there was circumstantial evidence linking the defendant with scientology by linking it with the writings of L. Ron Hubbard. These writings were contained in several books seized by the police.
He was satisfied that these items were in the possession of the defendant and all that mattered was to show that they were by Hubbard and that the related to a system of the study of knowledge, the human mind and behavior.
The literature produced by the police contained numerous relevant references and he quoted from some of the books.
A book by Hubbard on scientology had defined it as "the science of knowing how to know." It was also described as the "science of survival" and "an applied philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge."
It was abundantly clear that the books contained Hubbard's writings, he said, but he also had to be satisfied that the defendant company had disseminated them.
When all the evidence was considered it could be seen that there was an organisation actively concerned with correspondence relating to scientology. He was satisfied that the defendant was concerned with the scientology defined by the act.
"In my opinion, while there may be a difference of connotation there is not much of denotation between the words dogma and religion," he said. Both relate essentially to a belief, in this case a belief in scientology.
"Accordingly, this publicly avowal of its objects carried on through a subsidiary as a business is sufficient evidence of practice as defined by the act."
Mr John Henshaw, for the defendant, asked for a stay of execution.
Outside the court, Michael Thomas Graham, leader of the cult in W.A., said that he would instruct the group's lawyers immediately and they would take the case to the Supreme Court.