Scientology Crime Syndicate



June 9 1999 BRITAIN

Sect pays 55,000 to 'hate' victim


The Church of Scientology yesterday paid 355,000 in damages to a former member and apologised for carrying out a leaflet drop that branded her a "hate campaigner".

Bonnie Woods, 49, fought a six-year libel battle against the Church that is estimated to have cost 100,000 and involved more than 25 appearances in court. Her legal action began in 1993 when, after she spoke out against Scientology and offered counselling to its members, the Church hit back with a leaflet campaign delivered to Mrs Woods's friends and neighbours in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

The leaflet, which showed a picture of Mrs Woods above the words "Hate Campaigner Comes to Town", described her as a "de-programmer", or someone who tried to force people away from their chosen faith.

In a rare capitulation yesterday, the Church of Scientology apologised unreservedly in the High Court and agreed to pay Mrs Woods 355,000 in damages as well as her costs.

Michael Tugendhat, QC, representing the Church, told Mr Justice Eady that his clients "regret that when responding to Mrs Woods's criticisms of the Church of Scientology they went too far in attributing to her conduct and motives which they now accept were not correct".

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