Invitation from Birmingham Humanists

What Can You Say?

Public event by Birmingham Humanists

Friday, 14 December 2012, 19:30
David Allen Green (Jack of Kent) on free speech, free press, social media, injunctions, libel, blasphemy and giving/taking offence…

Read David’s blog at http://http://www.newstatesman.com/writers/david_allen_green

Plus End of Year Party!The Moseley Exchange, 149-153 Alcester Road, Birmingham B13 8JP
Map

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Relief for Shrewsbury cardiologist under libel threat

The science journal Nature reports:

Contentious libel action ends as medical company folds – April 20, 2011

The medical company suing cardiologist Peter Wilmshurst in a high profile libel case has folded.

NMT Medical said in a statement yesterday that has entered into an ‘Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors’, an alternative to bankruptcy where the company assigns its assets to an individual for liquidation and distribution.

The company’s libel actions against Wilmshurst have become a cause célèbre among those pushing for reform of England’s laws (who count Nature among their supporters).

Wilmshurt says fighting the case has cost him hundreds of thousands of pounds and it is unclear how much he will be able to reclaim.

His solicitor Mark Lewis said (in a statement released by campaign group Index on Censorship), “It looks like the nightmare is nearly over. After 4 years NMT looks to have gone out of business. Poor Dr Wilmshurst. The continual deployment of the libel laws to stop scientific discussion seems to be over. Peter Wilmshurst and his family enter the normal world blinking from the bright light of a case that is over.”

Libel news

There is an update on the legal harassment of Shrewsbury hospital consultant Dr Peter Wilmshurst here:

http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/other/552/

If you haven’t signed the petition for libel reform, please do so.

Local libel news

According to the BBC, the company NMT Medical has  stepped up its libel action against a local hospital consultant, Dr Peter Wilmshurst of the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Please support the Libel Reform Campaign, if only to sign its petition. It is trying to get the law changed to (amongst other desirable aims) make it more difficult to try to suppress inconvenient scientific debate by using the libel law.

Note that a big company does not have to win its case to use English libel law to suppress discussion. Just defending his case will cost Dr Wilmshurst a huge amount of money. English libel law costs around 140 times as much to defend as the European average, so much valid discussion is suppressed without ever coming to court.

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