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Simon Singh wins fair comment appeal

1st April 2010

Science writer Simon Singh has won his Court of Appeal case to use the defence of fair comment in a libel action.

The British Chiropractic Association accused the Fermat's Last Theorem author of libel after an opinion piece he wrote claimed there is a lack of evidence that the alternative therapy is effective against conditions such as colic and asthma.

According to the group, the article, which appeared in the Guardian in April 2008, effectively alleges its leaders have knowingly given their support to bogus treatments.

In May 2009, High Court judge Mr Justice Eady said Singh could not rely on the defence of fair comment as his remarks were presented as facts not opinion - but this has now been overruled by the Court of Appeal.

Telling the BBC that the ruling is 'brilliant', the author commented: 'It is extraordinary this action has cost GBP 200,000 to establish the meaning of a few words.'

In 2008, Singh and Professor Edzard Ernst published Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial, which examined the efficacy of complementary procedures such as chiropractic, homeopathy, acupuncture and aromatherapy.

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