Maisonneuve, one of France's leading jurists, after offering
closing argument in a case that could lead to the dissolution of
client - Scientology, France.
Le Figaro, France
Lawyer for Scientology Attacks Position of France
Patrick Maisonneuve knows what he's doing. In fact, he is such an expert that he
offered an international dimension. A mini-world tour of cleverly chosen
destinations which permitted him to show the extent to which France is taking
an isolated stance on the issue."
The defense's closing speech was
Scientology's last chance and lawyer Maisonneuve threw every argument he had to
try and convince the court. After prosecution's closing argument on Monday, which
would amount to the death penalty for Scientology in France since it demands the dissolution of
its two flagship structures - the star of the Paris Bar did everything he could
to defend the organization. It was a perilous mission, as the indictment which accused
Scientology of nothing less that carrying out a monumental organized group fraud
was still clear in people's minds.
But Patrick Maisonneuve, who was
the organization's champion in 1996 during a major trial in Lyon, knows what he's
doing. In fact, he is such an expert he offered an international dimension. A mini-world
tour of cleverly chosen destinations which permitted him to show the extent to
which France is taking an isolated stance on the issue. He reminded everyone
that Scientology is registered as a religion in the United States, Portugal,
Quebec and, as of 2008, in Spain.
'FRAUDSTERS WITHOUT MAKING MONEY!'
“And as for us, we'll burn L.
Ron Hubbard's books in the Cour de la Sainte-Chapelle! [the entryway to
the Palais de Justice or Hall of Justice]” he cried, pointing out that
the court would be on its own if it judged members of this organization as
being part of a commercial enterprise. He emphasized that the United States,
Sweden, Italy, South Africa and Austria have all ruled that Scientology isn't a
Returning to the charges
leveled in France, Maisonneuve wanted to spare the court a lengthy closing defense
argument to bring over three weeks of debate to a close. He preferred instead
to give targeted insights, focusing on issues he deemed essential. Money, first
of all. In this respect, the Scientologists in whose homes absolutely no money
was found were congratulated tongue-in-cheek by the defense attorney. “They're
extraordinary. They are swindlers without ill-gotten gain!”
Then the personality test, presented as the fatal weapon, the method utilized
to systematically capture new clients [the "electromer," picture
left]. The members of the organization were once again praised by their lawyer.
“They are fraudsters who set up a bogus test - and yet these fraudsters continue
to take this test themselves,” he screeched. An argument that, it must be said,
is quite nettlesome to the prosecution's case.
These Scientologists who, according
to the accusations, trap their victim using all sorts of tricks - the test, the
electrometer (a machine that measures emotions), saunas that last four hours to
purify the body and soul - seem, therefore, to have trapped themselves by carrying
out these practices. During this trial, which was “extremely tense and carried
out very much in the public eye,” Mr. Maisonneuve, who even managed to relax
the atmosphere a bit and make people laugh occasionally, attempted to correct
Scientology's image, which was badly undermined by the prosecution. The court
will deliver its verdict on October 27.
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