In a Guardian article in April 2008, Simon Singh, who has penned the popular science books “Fermat’s Last Theorem”, “The Code Book” and “Big Bang”, wrote about the likely risks of chiropractic treatment and whether or not there was any evidence that it was effective for various childhood conditions, including asthma and colic. The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) took offense to this, claimed that Singh had defamed their reputation and has sued him for libel.
Notwithstanding that in libel cases in Britain, it is the defendant who carries the burden of proof, and that this would be very expensive, Singh decided last year to fight on as experts said “we had a valid defence and stood a good chance of winning the case.”
However, this from the Index on Censorship website – On May 7th, 2009 the English High Court ruled that Singh must show that the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) was deliberately dishonest in promoting chiropractic as a treatment for various children’s ailments.
Mr Justice Eady ruled, with notes apparently written prior to today’s preliminary hearing, that an article by Singh, published in the Guardian should be classified as a ’statement’ and added that by use of the word ‘bogus’ Singh had inferred he believed the BCA had intent to convey dishonest claims to the British public.
In light of this ruling the matter may not go to trial. From Singh’s standing he does not believe the BCA had intent to deceive and therefore cannot prove this.
Costs of £23,000, relating to the preliminary hearing, have been awarded to the BCA.