For immediate release
Press contact: David Twede
JUDGE HEARS DAY-LONG ARGUMENTS IN MORMON FRAUD CASE
Case may advance to Crown Court for trial; judge will announce ruling on Thursday
Saturday, March 15. After a full day of arguments in front of a British magistrate yesterday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ legal counsel failed to get dismissed fraud charges against the Church’s Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Thomas Monson. Instead, Church leaders will wait until Thursday, March 20, to learn the next steps in the case. On that day, the judge will announce whether the fraud case will proceed to Crown Court for trial.
At yesterday’s hearing, Church attorneys attempted to discredit the case in two ways. First, they argued that the fraud charges emanated from a grudge. They claimed that Thomas Phillips, the British subject who instigated the fraud charges, was a “disaffected” Mormon whose problems with the church were personal, not legal in nature. Second, the Mormon legal team declared that religious teachings and matters of belief are outside the sphere of criminal law. They argue the charges against Monson are on the basis of his beliefs and not about facts which Monson may or may not have spoken.
Phillips’ legal team clarified that religions are not above the law. They cited examples of lay and clerical members of religious institutions convicted of serious crimes in the United Kingdom. Focusing in on the case at hand, Phillips’ attorneys showed how specific LDS Church representations, particularly its deceptive use of the term, “translate,” are consistent with the illicit acts covered in the United Kingdom’s Fraud Act of 2006. These particular representations, argues Phillips, are statements of fact by LDS leaders, including Monson, and subject to scrutiny under the Fraud Act. The Act stipulates three types of fraud Phillips’ counsel affirmed that the Church carried out: fraud by false representation; fraud by failing to disclose information; and fraud by abuse of position. If the case proceeds to trial in Crown Court, Phillips’ team will need to further substantiate, corroborate and verify each charge in detail.
David Twede, the Phillips case’s spokesperson, remarked that, “Today’s hearing shows us that the British legal system takes those who violate its laws seriously, regardless of who they are and what kind of putative religious authority they speak from. I’m glad we live in a day and age when certain governments can be enlightened enough to recognize that fraud is fraud.”
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For further research, consult:
The Fraud Act 2006: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/fraud_act/
“LDS UK Fraud Case” on MormonThink.com: http://www.mormonthink.com/monson-summons.htm
I want to clarify a couple of points:
1) Tom Phillips is still a member
2) Tom Phillips is not paid for his prosecution on this case.
The LDS Church can't seem to get its trees in a row