The BBC has posted an updated article about Simon Singh’s court victory in his libel case. There’s a nice two-minute video of Singh (with a weird haircut) commenting on the decision.
Dr Singh described the ruling as “brilliant”, but added that the action had cost £200,000 “just to define the meaning of a few words”.
“After two years of battling in this libel case, at last we’ve got a good decision. So instead of battling uphill we’re fighting with the wind behind us,” he said.
“The Court of Appeal’s made a very wise decision, but it just shouldn’t be so horrendously expensive for a journalist or an academic journal or a scientist to defend what they mean.
“That’s why people back off from saying what they really mean.”
The British Chiropractic Association, of course, won’t back down:
BCA president Richard Brown said: “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. The BCA brought this claim only to uphold its good name and protect its reputation, honesty and integrity”.
Honesty? Like saying that chiropractic cures colic and earaches?
12 thoughts on “More on Simon Singh”
Well, that is probably true. Their problem is that they assume their reputation should be exempt from legitimate criticism. Just because their reputation has been damaged doesn’t mean the damage was the fault of the critic rather than the untenable claims of the BCA. Of course, if they really think that damage to their reputation is actionable then the should sue themselves, for it is certain that their ill advised attempt at litigation against Singh has done more to damage their reputation than anything else in their history.
If I understand correctly, that’s the problem with the British system. The kid who shouts “The Emperor has no clothes” becomes responsible for the Emperor’s embarrassment.
Well, I did hear a commentator describing the history of English defamation say that originally just defaming someone was a crime, especially defaming royal personages, and whether the defamation was true was irrelevant. It was only later that libel and slander laws came to require other barriers be met, such as needing to be knowingly false and malicious.
The idea of defamation laws where truth is not a defense is indeed a frightening one, and with the presumption of guilt being on the libel defendant in Britain, such is for all practical purposes the case for all but the wealthiest of people who can afford to go to trial and possibly to lose million pound cases.
Quite. Their reputation has been damaged.
By the truth.
That’s not a weird haircut – it’s the result of seeing his legal bills. Seriously, though, good news.
Looks like a Top Chef haircut to me – but then I don’t get out much.
“The BCA brought this claim only to uphold its good name and protect its reputation, honesty and integrity…”
… and has subsequently proceeded to make a mockery of itself to the world at large during the process. But if you point it out, we’ll sue you by taking advantage of a backwards libel law in a country which should’ve changed it decades ago.
The caption quote: “The Court of Appeal’s made a very wise decision” looks like a teabagger wrote it. Did he emerge from the Court of Appeal or the Court of Appeals?
To each his own. Cowboy boots for Jerry Coyne, New Wave-ish haircuts or whatever for Simon Singh. I’m in favour of bracketing such comments on outfits altogether. It just sounds so narrow-minded. 🙂 Happy holidays…
I side with this freshly squeezed opinion.
The BCA claim to be defending a reputation. Ideally in cases like this, the question of whether they have a reputation to defend should rest on the scientific merit of their claims.
Maybe the BCA should sue themselves, because I’m pretty sure their reputation has been damaged far more by this ridiculous lawsuit than by Singh’s original article.