Thursday, 1 April 2010

Simon Singh wins appeal on meaning

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Science writer Simon Singh has this morning won his appeal on the meaning of his 2008 Guardian article on chiropractic, which has been the subject of a long-running libel suit by the British Chiropractic Association. Last year, Mr Justice Eady ruled that Singh's assertion that the BCA "happily promotes bogus treatments", such as the use of chiropractic to treat childhood asthma and colic, was presented as fact rather than opinion, meaning Singh would not be able to fight the case on the grounds of fair comment.

Now, following an appeal that has lasted close to a year, the Appeal Court (a particularly high-powered panel consisting of Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Lord Justice Sedley) has ruled that Eady "erred in his approach", and Singh will now be able to move forward and fight on grounds of fair comment.

Singh described the ruling as brilliant, while pointing out that "It is extraordinary this action has cost £200,000 to establish the meaning of a few words." For their part the BCA appear to remain defiant, putting out a press release (PDF) which asserts that they have followed legal advice throughout, and suggests that they will fight on:
“We are of course disappointed to lose the appeal, but this is not the end of the road and we are considering whether to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and subsequently proceed to trial. Our original argument remains that our reputation has been damaged. To reiterate, the BCA brought this claim only to uphold its good name and protect its reputation, honesty and integrity”.
It'll be interesting to see what happens next. Will the BCA now look to settle, or will they fight to the bitter end, with Singh in a far stronger position with his fair comment defence? As the Lord Chief Justice said when the case was before the court last month, whatever happens “At the end of this someone will pay an enormous amount of money".


Christopher Gray said...

I'm glad this is isn't an April fool. Well done Simon Singh for battling it out.

And as for "...the BCA brought this claim only to uphold its good name and protect its reputation, honesty and integrity..."

Ha! If they had any of those qualities, they wouldn't need lawyers to prove it, or to squash dissenting voices like Singh's. Let's now hope they face more than mere ethical bankruptcy.

Eiskrystal said...

I'm rather disappointed on one level that Singh won't be challenging them on their knowingly bogus claims. It is a shame we don't have more proof.

Still realistically this is the best outcome. Well done Mr. Singh.

Paul Barnes said...

If - Bod forbid - the BCA should end up winning this case, and even if it doesn't, there'd better be a very high profile campaign for donations towards any and all costs Mr. Singh has incurred in fighting it.

DM said...

you little liars do nothing but antagonize...

and you try to eliminate all the dreams and hopes of humanity...

but you LOST...


Einstein puts the final nail in the coffin of atheism...



atheists deny their own life element...