So, Simon Singh has just been refused permission to appeal in his libel trial. Fortunately for us slow-on-the-uptake and badly researched lay folk, Jack of Kent is on hand to explain what that means.
He also lays out Simon’s options as to how to proceed, and brings up a couple of interesting things I hadn’t known about this. For one thing, apparently it hasn’t been established yet whether the (now discredited) British Chiropractic Association is even in a position to sue for libel at all, as a corporation. “[T]here is actually little legal authority, if any, for a company without shareholders to sue for defamation,” quoth Jack. So, that’s interesting.
And the BCA may be realising just how much their position is seeming to weaken of late, and simply decide not to pursue further extended conflict. It’s possible the case might be settled, with Simon only having to apologise for the meaning that was ruled at the preliminary hearing – which wasn’t a meaning he’d intended to convey in the first place.
If life worked like a movie narrative, I imagine it would all keep escalating until it reached the highest and grandest of grand high courts. The villainous quacks would shout and froth ever more furiously, as they saw control of the situation slipping away from them. The plucky underdog would soldier bravely on, fighting for justice with waning strength but buoyed by an ever-growing crowd of supporters filling the court-room. The catharsis at the judge’s ruling which sets it all right and makes everything splendid forever would be fantastic.
It probably won’t turn out quite like that. But what should have been one insignificant incident has started something big, without a doubt. Simon’s got a sizeable community behind him now, to back him up for as long as he chooses to stand his ground. Even if he doesn’t take it all the way to the monumental final scene, he’s done a heroic job so far, and served as a focus to a powerful movement. I don’t see this thing going out with a whimper. I can’t imagine that everyone presently inflamed will get bored with the idea of libel law reform if nothing seems to happen about it for a bit. I think we’re going to see this thing through.
Granted, I know nothing about anything, but it’s fascinating stuff. I wonder how it’ll end.