The West Australian, Thu 04 Dec 1969, p1

Hubbard group's conviction quashed

A conviction against the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International Ltd. on a charge of practising scientology was quashed yesterday by the Full Court in Perth.

Magistrate D. J. O'Dea had convicted and fined the association $200 in the Perth Court of Petty Sessions on April 11.

It was alleged that between November 13, 1968, and January 28, 1969, the association practised scientology contrary to the Scientology Act, 1968.

Mr Justice Burt said in a reserved decision that the association was registered in W.A. as a foreign company.

To establish that the association had committed the offence charged it was necessary to establish that it had carried on a business in connection with scientology as defined in the Act.

The prosecution had put in a mass of material merely on the basis that it was seized at premises in Hay-street said to be or to have been occupied by the association.

It was left to the court to select the relevant from the irrelevant and then to make such use of the material as might seem proper and draw such inferences from it as might appear to be open.


Mr Justice Burt said that, in his opinion, this was not a legitimate or fair way of proceeding. It was a practice calculated to lead to confusion and it did lead to confusion.

Much of the material was seized when the premises were no longer held by the association. Much of it did not, on its face, connect itself with the association.

It had not been established that the association was carrying on business at any time within the stated period.

There was no evidence to suggest that the practice of auditing and the use of E meters was being carried on in the premises.

In his judgment the prosecution failed to establish that the association was within the meaning of the Act and within the stated period, practising anything.

Mr Justice Virtue and Mr Justice Neville agreed with Mr Justice Burt that the association's appeal should be allowed.

Outside the court, Mr Michael Graham, the leader of the scientology movement in W.A., said: "Our main interest now is in having the legislation either repealed or amended."

"This decision is a step in the right direction.

"We are interested in negotiating with Health Minister MacKinnon to have the legislation repealed or amended.

"Any change will have to be made in the political arena. We have no recourse to law to do this."

Mr Graham said that it was not yet easy to say how the court's decision affected the organisation's immediate position.

He had not yet studied the judgment.

However, he expected that 14 similar charges now pending would be dropped.

Mr Graham said that he had applied to have telephones reconnected to the organisation's headquarters in Hay-street.

The application had been made on behalf of the Church of the New Faith.

Mr Graham said that his organisation would ask for about four telephones.

[The Director of Posts and Telegraphs in W.A., Mr. J. H. White, ordered 11 telephones and a telex machine at the headquarters to be cut off in May. In July, Mr White refused a request to re-install the telephones. The telephones were removed under section 62 of the Telephone Regulations which relate to subscribers convicted of carrying on an illegal activity.]

He said that the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International had not operated since the ban in November 1968. This was now based in Manjimup and existed only for legal reasons.

"We are still scientologists but we have no connection with the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International," Mr Graham said.

Health Minister MacKinnon said yesterday: "I cannot talk to Mr Graham.

"They have a writ out against me. I cannot even answer his letters till the matter is settled."

He said that letters from scientologists were passed to his lawyer.

[The H.A.S.I. is claiming damages from Mr MacKinnon for alleged defamation. In a writ issued in September, last year, the association complained of words said to have been spoken by Mr MacKinnon on April 1, 1967, to a representative of the Sunday Times, and published in that newspaper on April 2, 1967. Mr MacKinnon filed a defence in October, 1968.]