The Belgian Scientology Trial: Judgment
This is a late appeal for expenses for the final trip to Brussels to complete my coverage of the Scientology trial. Since there are no plaintiffs left there is no guarantee journalists will get a written copy of the judgment. So I have to be there in person to get as much detail as I can while Judge Yves Régimont reads out his ruling in full on Friday.
The $500 I am asking for will cover my travel expenses and three nights accommodation: I arrive Wednesday night so I have time to meet contacts Thursday (I'm writing this on the Thalys, the Paris-Brussels express). I stay until Saturday, so I can spend Friday evening writing up the judgment without the distraction of travelling back to Paris.
If I do get past the £500 -- and on past experience of your generousity, I'm optimistic -- please feel to keep contributing over the period I've fixed. I promise to spend the rest on Belgian chocolate and "moules frites".
That's my present to myself after a gruelling few months in court, attending all the hearings; writing up detailed accounts of the "instruction" part of the trial (the judge questioning the defendants); and shorter, but still complete coverage of the legal arguments.
Still to come before the judgment on Friday, a write-up of crucial arguments advanced by a defence witness, a specialist on religious law: it highlights the obstacles standing in the way of any move to dissolve the Church of Scientology Belgium, as the prosecutor asked.
I'll also report on the testimony of four Belgian Scientologists who came to court to bear witness to all their faith has done for them.
On Friday, I'll be in court all day for the judgment. I will tweet developments when I can, during recesses. If Belgian judgments are structured the way the French ones are, the verdict and any sentences will come right at the end. So be patient.
Once that is in, I'll find a quiet corner and start filing. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed, my Facebook page and reports that I'll be filing both at Byline and Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker, which for many of you is already a home from home.
Thank you all for your generosity and support so far. Please help me over the finish line.