AWWTM: Philip Hammond happily promotes bogus transport solutions

In April 2008, the science writer Simon Singh wrote in The Guardian that chiropractors “happily promote bogus treatments”.  Singh was outlining the serious concerns he had about practitioners of unproven alternative medicines encouraging people with serious diseases to pay for expensive consultations and therapies with poor evidence basis, rather than consult real medical doctors.  The British Chriopractic Association  subsequently sued Singh for libel, and came close to winning when Justice Eady made the bizarre ruling that those four words amounted to a statement that chiropractors promote treatments that they know to be false.  That is, Eady interpreted Singh’s words as an accusation of malice rather than the intended allegation of ignorance.  Had Eady’s ruling not subsequently been overturned on appeal, under the libel laws of England and Wales it would have been up to Singh to prove that that the chiropractors were being deliberately dishonest if he wanted to fight and win the case.  When accused of libel, you are guilty until you can prove your innocence, and you could easily spend millions of pounds and several years of your life trying.

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