Andrew Wakefield vs the PCC

18 Feb

On the 14th March 2009, David Kirby published a Huffington Post piece which stated:

Dr. Andrew Wakefield – the British physician who was accused in February by the Sunday Times of London of altering data in a 1998 paper on autistic children, bowel disease and the MMR vaccine – has filed a formal complaint against the freelance journalist who wrote the article.

….

Mr. Deer has failed miserably as a reporter and has done great harm to me and many others conducting autism research,” Wakefield said in the release.

The most sensational accusation against him printed in the Sunday Times held that Wakefield had altered and manipulated data on many of the 12 children who were written up in the paper.

David’s piece – as can be seen from the words of Wakefield above – show Wakefield as fairly salvering to get at Brian Deer and indeed, the Times stories were removed from their website. Wakefield reported this as the Times tacit admission the stories were wrong. This drew a stinging response from the Times who immediately republished some of the stories on its website indicating the truth which was that the stories were only removed at first as a courtesy to the PCC, not to Andrew J Wakefield.

As Mike notes in the above linked story, Wakefield is often the author of his own misfortune as he bumbles from one self created mess to another.

And now I’ve heard news that Wakefield no longer wants the PCC to hear the complaint he made until after he has appealed to the courts. In a private email corresponence with Brian Deer, he told me:

At my request, the PCC was last week asked if Wakefield will now pursue his complaint against The Sunday Times. His publicist James Moore, replied on his behalf. I can’t give you the email, as it is not for me to do that, but I can tell you that he has asked for the matter to be deferred until after any appeal to the courts by Wakefield.

Appeal? Why does Wakefield want to appeal? Wasn’t it he who stated:

I have no need of continued registration with the GMC…

If thats so, then why is he going to appeal? Could this be yet another delaying tactic by a man who has made something of a career out of delaying the game when it (as it always has) goes against him? After all, who can forget his now infamous bowing out of the libel case he pursued against Brian Deer? Particularly Justice Eady’s response to him when he tried to delay _that_ case;

It thus appears that the Claimant [Wakefield] wishes to use the existence of the libel proceedings for public relations purposes, and to deter other critics, while at the same time isolating himself from the downside of such litigation, in having to answer a substantial defence of justification.

And so here we are yet again – Wakefield wants to delay proceedings _he_ initiated because he got hammered by the GMC. Brian also said:

I’ve had these issues hanging over my head for six years. Moreover,Wakefield’s allegations (and those of Mr Moore) are published online as part of a campaign against me, while two Sunday Times reports carry tags referring to his complaint.

The courts have made clear, in defamation cases, that prompt action is a hallmark of a genuine complaint. Wakefield previously sought summary adjudication of his dozens of complaints, demanding that they be ruled on in advance of his GMC hearing and without our full reply being received. Now
he’s changed tack and plainly wishes to abandon his complaint without the penalty of saying so.

Quite.

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4 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield vs the PCC”

  1. _Arthur February 18, 2010 at 16:02 #

    Didn’t Wakefield just resigned from Thoughtful House ?

  2. Kev February 18, 2010 at 16:08 #

    Thats the current thinking but there’s no official confirmation yet.

  3. Liz Ditz February 18, 2010 at 18:30 #

    It’s been confirmed by Thoughtful House. Rather than linking to them, read the announcement at Justthevax.

  4. AutismNewsBeat February 18, 2010 at 20:39 #

    “Wakefield is often the author of his own misfortune as he bumbles from one self created mess to another.

    Here’s another mess Wakers created for himself. Some time ago, Dr. Nancy Snyderman referred to Wakefield as “a fraud” during an exchange with Matt Lauer. Wakefield’s lawyers pounced on NBC, first threatening a defamation suit, then demanding a public forum to explain Wakefield’s side of the story. NBC agreed, and broadcast a one-hour Dateline special about Wakefield. But the ploy backfired – NBC also featured interviews with Paul Offit and Brian Deer, which hardly cast Wakefield in a favorable light. Wakefield lied to Lauer on several key questions – not a wise move if your goal is to build strong relationships with the media.

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