After a long, completely unnecessary battle, Simon Singh has won his appeal (PDF).
The short background of the story: Singh wrote an article in 2008 saying that the British Chiropractic Association “is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.”
The BCA didn’t like that “bogus” was an accurate representation of the junk they promote, so they sued.
Yesterday, Singh won his appeal.
The High Court had said the words were fact not opinion — meaning Dr Singh could not use the fair comment defence.
However, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger and Lord Justice Sedley ruled High Court judge Mr Justice Eady had “erred in his approach” last May, and allowed Dr Singh’s appeal.
“We’re not trying to stamp on free speech and scientific debate. We’re just bankrupting Simon Singh until he stops criticizing us and goes away. Yes, The Guardian offered us the opportunity to publicly defend our claims with science, but that’s absurd –- we don’t have any science to defend our claims.
“We know that at this point pretty much everyone thinks we’re a bunch of shit heads, but that’s because we were following our lawyers’ advice! And even though we’ll continue to look like bigger shit heads the longer we keep this charade going, we’re prepared to drag this out for years. After all, if we’re going to singlehandedly destroy the chiropractic industry, we’re going to take Simon Singh down with us. Because that’s exactly the kind of shit heads we are.”
The case isn’t over yet, but the advantage is now with Singh.
Here’s hoping he can win the case in full.