Simon Singh wins appeal

After almost two years of legal action, Simon Singh won the libel case against him by the British Chiropractic Association on appeal (full text of ruling). The case was over an article called “Beware the Spinal Trap” which appeared in the Guardian in 2008, specifically over where Singh wrote that the BCA “happily promoted bogus treatments,” because they do.

Originally, the courts ruled that happily promoting bogus treatments implied that the BCA would have to be promoting treatments which they knew didn’t work. This is exact opposite of how we have libel in America, where the prosecution has to prove that the defendant knowingly misinformed the public. In British law, such as it is, being right isn’t good enough of a defense against libel.

The president of the BCA said he is considering appealing the appeal (YO DAWG I HERD U LIKE APPEALS). Singh says that so far the lawsuit has cost him £200,000.

Hopefully this can be used as a precedent to reform the UK’s primitive libel laws. From the BBC:

Coalition for Libel Reform spokeswoman Tracey Brown said: “This case has brought out of the woodwork the fact that so many other discussions are being killed, from discussions of cardiology to human rights to medicines.
“We’re now pushing ahead for bigger changes to the law so that we have the kind of public interest defence that means it wouldn’t have taken two years and £200,000 to find out whether Simon can defend himself.”

You can learn more about British libel reform here.

You can also read more info on the case from the Index on CensorshipSteven Novella, Rebecca Watson, and Jack of Kent.

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One Response to “Simon Singh wins appeal”

  1. US Senate does something undeniably good for once « Atheist Hobos Says:

    […] while back I wrote about the case of Simon Singh and his battle with chiropractors and the UK’s terrible libel laws. One thing I neglected to mention was a further ramification to the British legal system when it […]

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