The BCA supports and would never seek to stifle legitimate open scientific debate. However, this action is actually a simple libel claim based on the fact that the BCA was maliciously attacked by Dr. Singh in the Guardian newspaper.
As legal blogger Jack of Kent explains, this is a significant and troubling development:
If Simon is held to be malicious then this means that he would lose various defences available to him such as fair comment and also any qualified privilege.
However, it remains to be seen whether this is a real claim of malicious intent or a slip of the tongue by the person behind the press release. Jack of Kent has asked for further clarification and is awaiting reply. Keep tuned into his excellent blog and twitter stream for further developments.
** EDIT The BCA press release has been replaced with one sans the word "maliciously". Clearly they are not planning a new tactic of trying to prove malice (or if they are, this was a false start). Unfortunately for them accusing Simon of malice might itself be libel, allowing Simon to counter-sue. What a tangled web they've woven...
Looks like the BCA have made a pretty grave error, Jack of Kent has been moved to write
"This was the day the BCA case came to an end. @SLSingh only now needs to threaten to countersue. The BCA cannot justify that clear meaning."
He's writing a blog piece on it right now!
It's looking good:-)
Simon singh now has a difficult decision to make, does he continue with the case in the hope of reaching a verdict that upholds free speach, or would it be better to countersue the BCA in order to force them to drop their case?
Given the stress levels accociated with such cases I'd be tempted to go for the latter, though the former might be of more benefit to society.
Based on what SS has said in the past, he was defending himself from desire to establish that the word "quack" is accurate in the context he used it. I don't see how forcing the BCA to drop their action by using the threat of a counter-suit would achieve his aims, especially as he has already devoted a hell of a lot of money and valuable time to defending himself from these awful people.