Thursday 15 April 2010

Libel case against Simon Singh dropped

Victory at last! reports today:"The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has dropped its libel case against science writer Simon Singh (above)." It quotes from: From the Ely Place Chambers site:
"The BCA today served a Notice of Discontinuance bringing to an end its ill-fated libel claim against Dr Simon Singh arising out of criticisms he made of its promotion of treatments for childhood ailments.
Dr Singh’s predicament as the sole defendant in an action brought in respect of a comment piece in the Guardian newspaper (to which the BCA  never directed any complaint) was seen as a rallying point for those concerned about the abuse of UK libel laws in connection with scientific debate.
Interest intensified when Eady J ruled that his words were not comment and that in order to defend himself he would have to prove the objective truth of what he wrote.
Earlier this month the Court of Appeal overturned that ruling and this has lead the BCA to abandon its claim."
Hope Simon Singh doesn't have to pay a penny in legal costs. Good timeline here on the case on Index on Censorship website.

Update: Robert Dougans of Bryan Cave LLP, who represented Singh, told the Guardian today: "All that now remains to be settled is how much of Simon's legal costs he can recover from the BCA, and how much he will have to bear himself," he said.
"However well this process goes, Simon is likely to be out of pocket by about £20,000. This – and two years of lost earnings, which he can never recover, is the price he has paid for writing an article criticising the BCA for making claims the Advertising Standards Agency has ruled can no longer be made. In the game of libel, even winning is costly and stressful.
"To have won this case for Simon is the proudest moment of my career, but if we had the libel laws we ought to have I would never have met Simon at all. Until we have a proper public interest defence scientists and writers are going to have to carry on making the unenviable choice of either shying away from hard-hitting debate, or paying through the nose for the privilege of defending it."
More here at Sense About Science
I think someone should start a Why Simon Should Not Foot the Bill Campaign.

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