Thursday, 15 October 2009

BCA Now Alleging Malice By Simon Singh

In a press release just issued, the British Chiropractic Association has alleged that Simon Singh was motivated by malice in his original article.

This is a shocking and serious (and indeed defamatory) accusation, which the BCA have never before made and has not been any part of their case to date.

If Simon is held to be malicious then this means that he would lose various defences available to him such as fair comment and also any qualified privilege.

This accusation of malice is also counter to the decision given yesterday by Lord Justice Laws, where he expressly noted that the BCA had not raised any question as to the good faith or motivations of Simon Singh.

It may be that this accusation is a slip of the keyboard (remember plethora?), but if it is not - and if it remains uncorrected - then the BCA are seeking to develop a significant new line of attack in their case against Simon Singh.


I have emailed the BCA and their PR company for urgent clarification. Until I receive that I will not approve comments for publication. I do apologise.


CynoSure said...

They can change their claim in mid-suit?

Richard Hurst said...

You have a rogue £ at the end of that link to the press release. Feel free to delete this comment once you've rectified it.
best wishes

Sly said...

Can they do this? I would have thought that if you wished to claim malice you would have to do it when you first brought the claim. Otherwise, it seems to me, that if you don't like the way things are going you can shout malice and the rules change.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

The comment smacks of desperation to me - and from what I understand of the costs issues, that may in fact be the case.

Of course, it could be that the BCA actually thinks SS is orchestrating the media and blogosphere coverage of the case, in which case their view of him could well have changed. Because the alternative possibility - that hundreds, even thousands of people, have considered the arguments and think the BCA has been misguided in bringing the case (and question the validity of chiropractic full stop) - is a tough pill to swallow.


David Waldock said...

Does the appeal allow them to introduce that strand at this time? My understanding was that this wasn't in question!

And seriously Simon Singh was "malicious"? Have they ever even looked at the man?

Christine Ottery said...

Why would Simon lose the right to use the defense of fair comment?

Is this attack by the BCA a game to try and get him engaged in an expensive counter-claim?

Edd said...

Several aspects of the BCA's statement leave me bemused. Firstly:
As the Claimant is not permitted to be represented in a hearing of this nature
I was under the impression that many people were surprised by the lack of representation by them. Does this mean that it is actually not surprising that they were not present at the hearing?

Lord Justice Laws, did not have the benefit of being able to consider all the issues
I was under the impression that it wasn't his job to. Surely its for the actual appeal court to do that?

And then there's other causes of bafflement I won't go into, which I suspect I share with other readers.

Botogol said...

for the non-lawyers, can you expand a little about what it means (in law) to be acting in malice? Presumably not every act of criticism is an act of malice? So what's the defn..

fcw said...

Is this an approach that could actually gain traction at this stage, given what has been said by the BCA up until this point? Do they get to lob in more serious accusations if they think their existing ones aren't going well enough?

Steve Rolles said...

presumably also opens up an avenue for Simon to counter-sue for slander?

Raoul Morris said...

If they do go down this line, I believe it a mistake as they would have to prove malice which would be difficult. They have gotten the litigation bug which is the road to ruin.

MarkEMarkEMark said...

Why did you ask us to cache it?

uksceptic said...

I don't get it. How can the BCA prove malice any more than Singh could prove that the BCA were knowlingly giving bogus treatments? Can Singh now counter sue for being accused of malice?

The further this case progresses the loonier the BCA are appearing to be.

HDB said...

It would be stunning if this were accidental. Surely, surely their press releases are 'lawyered' first? I mean, surely the BCA has learned that much from all this?

In my view their reputation has been irrevocably damaged by their own actions in this case, not anyone else's!

Rabbitpirate said...

Something that immediately jumped out at me from the press release was this bit:

"As the Claimant is not permitted to be represented in a heating of this nature,"

Is this accurate as it strikes me as strange. Also I find it interesting that the BCA don't mention the fact that they were given the opportunity to post a refutation of Simon's article but decided to sue instead.

Ginger Yellow said...

Seems to me that it's a direct response to Laws's decision, trying to cut off the fair comment and qualified privilege defences, forcing him to justify a statement of fact.

MarkEMarkMark said...

I know you can't post these comments, but, is the use of the word "maliciously" worse than "bogus"? Does this tip the balance? If counter-sue, does this mean both sides can win/lose their respective cases? Questions questions... I hope you next post helps me understand the implications... I wait with baited breath!

Anonymous said...

Original statement from Sep 14th sill available on their site as of 19:15 15/10/09, please check and verify.

Silex said...

To simon

Next time my man, you would do well to understand things for yourself. I see you justify your article's comments because you co-authored a book with some other guy who did some research.

The modality is only as good as the practitioner my friend.

And when it comes to the body sciences, one not only has to understand it in the mind, but one must understand it in one's own body as well. This is something that even top chiropractors are not hip to.

Rumi has wonderful things to say about falling:

The way of love is not a subtle argument. the door there is devastation. birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. how do they learn it? they fall & falling they're given wings." – Rumi.

You my friend, must fall...since there is no excuse for the ignorant stupidity that you so happily promoted.
And if you don't find love from this, perhaps you will at least find some understanding.

Lots of love sent your way my brother. Perhaps when its all over we exchange a few more lines, I have a technique or two to help make sitting up straight a natural thing to do.

But good on you for fighting..I love a good fighter