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BCA drops case against Simon Singh

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BCA drops case against Simon Singh
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joshurtreePosts: 51Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:44 pm Gender: Cake

Post BCA drops case against Simon Singh

The British Chiropractic Association has dropped its libel action against the science writer Simon Singh. Dr Singh was being sued by the organisation because of comments he had made in the Guardian in 2008 about the effectiveness of chiropractic. The case itself had sparked an intense debate about the role of libel actions in areas of scientific controversy. Dr Singh recently won an appeal that would have allowed him to use the fair comment defence in the case.

On Thursday, the website of William McCormick QC, one of the barristers acting for Simon Singh, said the British Chiropractic Association has served a "Notice of Discontinuance". This means the case is now over. Dr Singh said he was hugely relieved, but expressed his annoyance that libel actions continued to be used to block what he viewed as legitimate scientific inquiry and debate. "Other scientists, science writers, bloggers, investigative journalists, human rights activists - all get threatened with these libel suits," he told BBC News. "And at the end of the day, the people who lose out are the general public because we don't get to find out the real truth because these libel suits just stop good journalism."

Dr Singh said he was still waiting to find out how the costs of the case would be borne. He said his defence had so far cost him in excess of ,£100,000. In the article in April 2008, Dr Singh suggested there was a lack of evidence for the claims some chiropractors made on treating certain childhood conditions such as colic and asthma. The BCA alleged that Dr Singh had effectively accused its leaders of knowingly supporting bogus treatments. The case had become a cause celebre for the science community and led to calls for defamation law to be rewritten so it did not interfere with scientific discussion.

The BCA issued a statement [PDF] confirming its withdrawal from the action. It said the recent appeal won by Dr Singh on the terms of his defence had prompted its decision. "While it still considers that the article was defamatory of the BCA, the [recent appeal] decision provides Dr Singh with a defence such that the BCA has taken the view that it should withdraw to avoid further legal costs being incurred by either side," its statement read. "As those who have followed the publicity surrounding this case will know, Simon Singh has said publicly that he had never intended to suggest that the BCA had been dishonest. The BCA accepts this statement, which goes some way to vindicating its position."

Chiropractic is regarded as a complementary or alternative therapy, and is offered in some areas of the UK on the NHS. It involves the use of physical manipulation to treat problems with joints, bones and muscles, with particular emphasis on the spine, which is why chiropractors tend to be associated with treating bad backs.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8621880.stm
Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:24 pm
Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: BCA drops case against Simon Singh

Good, it's about time. BCA have just wasted everyone's time and money, and have lost their own credibility. I hope this hurts their organisation in the future.

Ah and I see Simon is going to go after the BCA for court costs - good stuff!
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Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:41 pm
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nasher168League LegendUser avatarPosts: 2518Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:34 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: BCA drops case against Simon Singh

Aught3 wrote:Good, it's about time. BCA have just wasted everyone's time and money, and have lost their own credibility. I hope this hurts their organisation in the future.

Ah and I see Simon is going to go after the BCA for court costs - good stuff!


That said, I heard he was predicted to not get up to ,£60,000 ($90,000) out of the ,£200,000 he's had to pay so far... So it's a crushing victory for libel law reform campaigners, but could still cost him a hell of a lot.
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Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:57 pm
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