Simon Singh wins appeal on libel case initial hearing

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Idrach, Apr 1, 2010.

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  1. The judgement in the Simon Singh libel appeal has been issued here. A comprehensive and valuable win for the cause of common sense against ingrained silliness and the "reach for your lawyer" tendency.

    Comment from al-Beeb:

    and the Guardian (the paper the BCA quite carefully didn't sue!):

    But remember - this was only the appeal against the refusal of Justice Eady to allow a defence of "fair comment", not against the actual libel hearing. Unless the BCA have a spontaneous and uncharacteristic outbreak of common sense, this is still going to trial.

    However, this has now been entered in to a UK appeal court judgement, admittedly as a quote from a 1994 US ruling (I have no idea whether that makes it part of English precedent or not):

     
  2. The whole thing is a monumental nonsense. The BCA should be required to provide evidence (to the same standards as medical trials) that chiropractic treatment works before being allowed to start a case.
     
  3. msr

    msr LE

  4. This Eady geezer also seems to be a large part of the problem:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice_Eady

    Was he not also the fella who ruled in the case of some footie player playing away (geddit)? I believe it was the England captain, John something.

    MsG
     
  5. Mr Justice Eady was the Judge in charge of the Libel case of Khalid bin Mahfouz vs Rachel Ehrenfeld, where a US author in a US company (Bonus Books) published a book called Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed -- and How to Stop It in 2003.
    Even though the book wasn't published in the UK, it was revealed that a few(?) had been bought over the internet by individuals based in the UK, therefore Mahfouz brought a libel case in the 'soft' and Claimant friendly UK court of Mr Justice Eady. In the end Eady found in favour of Mahfouz and so raised the controversy of 'Libel Tourism'. It has to be argued, that Mr Eady is a far from appropiate fellow to be donning the benches of the Royal Courts of Justice, but any as fule kno, it's bloody hard to sack a Judge no matter how crap they are.

    Incidentally the ease of how Eady can allow foreigners to fly in and use the RCofJ to bully and stifle free speech has alarmed the US so much they are looking at raising a seperate Bill to protect US authours and companies. The bill will protect those from Libel laws in countires that have "lesser protection for free speech than the US constitution." So, the US even have to create new laws to protect themsleves from useless UK libel laws.

    There's loads in the press about it but here's a few links here.

    Khalid bin Mahfouz Wiki
    America must defend its writers
    US Free Speech Protection Act of 2009
    Some anti-Mahfouz Blog regarding free speech
     
  6. "Incidentally the ease of how Eady can allow foreigners to fly in and use the RCofJ to bully and stifle free speech has alarmed the US so much they are looking at raising a seperate Bill to protect US authours and companies. The bill will protect those from Libel laws in countires that have "lesser protection for free speech than the US constitution." So, the US even have to create new laws to protect themsleves from useless UK libel laws."

    That would be interesting to see in action. How would it work? If an American Citzen with property in the UK is sued in an UK Court over an article not directly published in the UK what would happen if the UK Courts order siezure of said property? How would it work to protect a Yank arrested for failure to pay a fine set against by a UK Court ?
     
  7. It is just that the US Courts would not recognise or enforce judgements under certain circumstances. If the failed defendant had UK (or probably EU) assets or turned up in the EU, they could have the assets seized or be arrested under an EAW. But then the problem is that the defendant and often the claimant have no, or only an impossibly vague, connection to UK jurisdiction.
     
  8. I don't think it's quite that, Kit. If, say, you walked across a zebra crossing in Germany while the lights were against you, and the Boxheed Old Bill imposed the mandatory 10 Euro fine, they couldn't prevail on UK courts to collect the fine, because what you did in Germany isn't a breach of law in the UK.

    So what this new Septic law will do is to restrict the enforceability of such claims made against Septic citizens in the US, since other (in this case the UK) laws offer less protection of freedom of speech. Anyway, I think I've understood it correctly, but I hope others can enlarge on that.

    MsG
     
  9. I could see that going done well in a US Court. US Citzen arrested in the EU for an offense the US Government has explictly acted against. Anyone in the level of puntive damages awarded in a US Court against the EU ?
     
  10. Only true in specific circumstances - like the one you actually gave - now, unfortunately. Under the European Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant, as enabled in the Extradition Act 2003, the old principle of dual criminality has been abolished for a wide range of offences, providing "that the act be criminal in the State issuing the EAW and is punishable under the law of that State by imprisonment for a maximum period of not less than three years."

    As typical with many of the bad laws of recent years (both parties being guilty of this but New Labour seeming to take a perverse delight in making it as grotesque as their hordes of egregious fools can engineer) this has led to (cough) "unforeseen consequences".

    Non-payment of a fine can lead to a prison sentence, of course, but three years would be excessive and (as I understand it) Germany has a formal sliding scale for such and your €10 wouldn't rate :)
     
  11. Been following this case and Mr Greedy in the Eye for a while. Makes me slightly ashamed to be British when a fool like that is so obviously not working in the interests of the public but of the rich. How long before he retires and becomes a board advisor to Carter-Fuck??
     
  12. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    I'd hate to libel anyone, but it would seem to my mind that this Eady is a bit of an oxygen thief who is not treating matters of law with an even hand, and is thus knowingly facilitating severe miscarriages of justice.
     
  13. I'd be a bit more circumspect and suggest that his Appeals record would suggest that he does seem to shade his decisions towards the legal right of privacy as opposed to the contrasting but equal right to free speech but that, as per msr's comment, the underlying framework of English (and British - there are other problems in Scotland) defamation law is flawed and well overdue for fundamental revision.

    Of course the law and justice are different (possibly even orthogonal) concepts - with "fairness" being a third - we try to bring them as close together as possible but ...
     
  14. There is more to this case than meets the eye.

    Simon Singh has an axe to grind agains Chiropractors but is fine with Osteopaths. Both are manipulative threatments and use the same evidence.

    The Libel case was brought to protect a small group of people against a media group. The Guardian has an agenda a this is part of it.

    Not the victory for free speech it first appears
     
  15. Bad argument. Gang members and surgeons both use knives. Add to that it wasn't the manipulation he was criticising; it was certain claims by chiropractors that where not based on evidence. Chiropractice is called an alternative/complementary care because it has either not been subject to clinical trials, or it failed to pass them.