Catchup #1: Simon Singh wins!

Sense about Science - keep libel laws out of science.

Some fantastic news to start off the catchup with, and that is that in the case of Simon Singh vs the BCA, Simon has won!

I shouldn’t need to spell out the events to anyone, but just in case you’re not already aware from reading every other skeptical blog out there (I’m quite late to the party to say the least), Simon was sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association a few years back after an article he wrote for The Guardian.  The line in question was “This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”.

Despite this line being clarified before and after it, the judge who was assigned this case decided to ignore that and use his own interpretation, that being, that Simon Singh meant the BCA knew these treatments to be bogus and his statement was a matter of fact.  This is not at all what he was saying.

Earlier this year Simon appealed this decision, and on April 1 a judgement was made.  Three very prominent judges ruled in Simon’s favour, that this statement was a matter of opinion.  This allowed Simon to defend his statement properly and gave him a very good chance to win.  Then, last week, after over two years and 100,000 pounds spent by Simon Singh already in his defence, the BCA withdrew the suit.  Simon has been vindicated, the article is back up in its original form, and the BCA now have to pay all of Simon’s costs.

On top of this huge financial burden to the BCA, due to all the attention they have gained in these last two years one in four chiropractors in the UK have been reported and the BCA now have to investigate them.  This alone is putting a huge financial burden on the BCA, topping off the costs they now have to pay Simon.

It is a massive win for science and skepticism, but the battle is not over yet.  The libel laws still need to be overhauled, and we will all be watching this with a lot of interest.

Congratulations to Simon Singh, hopefully now he can relax and enjoy his newly born daughter and family to their fullest.

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