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15 April 2010

Simon Singh wins libel case

The British Chiropractic Association, today, dropped its libel case against Simon Singh, the science writer.

In what must be a great relief to many active and outspoken skeptics, across the UK, and around the world - the court of appeal in the UK overturned the previous judgment, that Singh's piece was "not comment"... that he would need to prove the objective truth of what he wrote.

Interestingly, the previous judgment basically said "you need to prove that Chiropractic doesn't work, or we can sue you for saying it"... which of course would lead to all sorts of possible libel cases regarding people speaking our against unproven claims.

Imagine if pharmaceutical companies could say "'this product cures cancer' - and we can claim it does, on the bottle AND you can't print a word saying it doesn't, until you can prove that it doesn't". The onus of proof would then be on the consumer, or the skeptic, to prove the non-efficacy of a product before anyone would be allowed to say it didn't work.

Anyway, the point is, the decision was overturned - and the BCA have dropped their case.

As Rebecca Watson from Skepchick points out, though, Simon Singh may have a hell of time recouping his costs - and he may still have made some significant financial sacrifices in order to see this case through, and not simply settle "out of court".

More links on the story:
Telegraph UK
Times Online

[Ed: Latest update. This from "The Millenium Project" - Simon Singh again]

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