Science writer Simon Singh wins ruling in chiropractic libel battle
In two previous articles, here and here, I talked about author Simon Singh’s battle with the British Chiropractic Association. The Guardian reported yesterday that the initial ruling has been overturned.
From The Guardian:
A science writer who is being sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association is to fight on after a preliminary judgment against him was overturned on appeal today.
Simon Singh was sued by the BCA after he wrote an article in the Guardian criticising the association for supporting members who claim that chiropractic treatments – which involve manipulation of the spine – can treat children’s colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying.
Singh described the treatments, for which he said there is not a lot of evidence, as “bogus” and criticised the BCA for “happily promoting” them.
In May, Mr Justice Eady in the high court ruled on the meaning of the words, saying they implied the association was being deliberately dishonest. Singh said that interpretation would make it difficult for him to defend himself at a full trial.
Singh was initially refused leave to appeal, but Eady’s interpretation was rejected by Lord Justice Laws, who said Eady had risked swinging the balance of rights too far in favour of the right to reputation and against the right to free expression. Laws described Eady’s judgment as “legally erroneous”.
Many scientists and science writers have rallied to Singh’s support, claiming that the freedom of scientific opinion is at stake.
Speaking after the judgment, Singh said this was the “best possible result”.
“Simon Singh’s battle in this libel case is not only a glaring example of how the law and its interpretation are stifling free expression, it shows how urgent the case for reform has become,” said Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship.