Andrew Wakefield is a disgraced doctor who made up data that questioned the safety of vaccines. As a result, many parents refused to vaccinate their kids, especially in the U.K. Arguably, children died as a result. Andrew Wakefield is clearly a dangerous man and I’m glad that the scientific community has firmly rejected his nonsense. In fact, certain scientific journals and people even outside the scientific community have been quite critical. These include the British Medical Journal and journalistic Brian Deer. In response, Wakefield sued them for defamation. Now they are countering with an anti-SLAPP motion:
The anti-SLAPP statute protects journalists and publishers from baseless libel claims like Dr. Wakefield’s by providing for a special “motion to dismiss” to be filed at the outset of the case. To avoid dismissal, the plaintiff must submit “clear and specific evidence” to support each essential element of his claims. Where, as here, the plaintiff cannot satisfy that burden, the Court must dismiss the case and award the defendants their reasonable fees and costs, along with any additional sanctions appropriate to deter the plaintiff from filing similar actions.
This is what would have happened to Christopher Maloney had he been foolish enough to continue. Now the onus is on Wakefield to prove that he has actually been defamed. And, of course, he is unlikely to succeed. I hope this costs him a lot of money – and, more so, supporters.