Sadly, things didn’t go well. Here’s the quote that got him into trouble.
The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.
The surprising outcome hinged on Justice Eady’s (famous for the Mosley spanking case) interpretation of one word which appears in the quote above.
First a bit of background- There are two options for the defense, one being that the statement was not defamatory but merely opinion or comment, the other that the statement was defamatory but that it was justifiable.
The judge’s first finding, that the statement was defamatory, does not in itself mean that Simon’s case is lost, only that he would have to show that his remarks were true. This is what he had expected to happen, and prepared a case based on backing up his written claims that chiropracty lacks evidence.
What was surprising was that the judge interpreted Simon’s use of the word bogus to mean that he was saying that not only did chiropracty not work, but that the BCA knew it didn’t work and were knowingly relieving people of their money for little in return. This means that in order to use the ‘truthfulness’ defense he would have to bring evidence to prove that the BCA are complicit in a scheme to defraud people rather than simply ignorant.
This would be impossible to prove and Simon is surprised that his article was interpreted by the judge in this way as he has never alleged that the BCA were crooks, he’s written elsewhere that most ALt Med practitioners are deluded, rather than criminal, and is frankly surprised at the way the scentence was read.
He will now be appealing on the grounds that Justice Eady misinterpreted that one crucial word. If this appeal succeeds, then he will be back on scientific grounds, and will go to trial with the burden only of proving that chiropracty cannot treat asthma. Let’s hope he gets it.