Credit: Crowdfunder

Doctor wins appeal against ban on expressing views on Covid-19 

A tribunal made an “error of law” when it ordered Hampshire GP Dr Samuel White to stop discussing Covid on his social media platforms, a UK judge has ruled.

Dr White won his appeal at the High Court and all restrictions on his social media output are now lifted. As reported by Gript, the doctor took his case to the High Court when he was banned by the General Medical Council (GMC) from expressing his views on Covid-19, after he raised concerns about vaccines and said that “masks do nothing”.

Dr White took to his Instagram on Friday to share the news that he had won his appeal, telling his 40,000 strong following: “I’m really pleased to announce that today, we found out that I won my High Court appeal against the General Medical Council. It was found that the orders placed on me breached my human rights, including my right to be a part of a debate on what’s going on at the moment. 

 “I’d like to thank all of you so much for your kindness, love and support you’ve shown me over the last few months,” he added, also thanking his legal team.

 “I’ve always been proud to live in an open, diverse country [and] I enjoy travelling the world, but what we’ve lacked lately is tolerance for diversity of thoughts and opinion. What we’ve had instead is scientism, not true science or debate; even a debate being allowed about science. And it’s also time to return to science, but also medical ethics, which has been long-established but recently overlooked,” he added.

 Dr White was previously a partner at the Denmead Health Centre until his resignation in February. As a result of a video he posted to his social media in June in which he made critical remarks about the handling of Covid-19, including remarks about vaccines and masks, the GMC’s Interim Orders Tribunal imposed restrictions on Dr White’s registration.

 But the High Court said this decision was “wrong” under human rights law.

In the videos posted to Instagram and Twitter Dr White explained he could no longer work in his previous roles due to the NHS and U.K Government approach to Covid-19. He said the lies were “so vast” that he could no longer “stomach or tolerate” them, the court heard. Dr White also warned about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine, testing methods and expressed his view that “masks do nothing” to protect people.

Decision ‘clearly wrong’ and ‘cannot stand’

The court found that Dr White allegedly shared information to a “wide and possibly uninformed audience” and did not give an opportunity for “a holistic consideration of Covid-19, its implications and possible treatments”.

 However, the GP’s barrister, Francis Hoar, argued the restrictions imposed on his client’s registration were “effectively a ban” and a “severe imposition” on his freedom of expression.

 His legal team said the case was about “freedom of expression” and argued that the doctor should have the freedom to engage in medical, scientific and political discussion.

Mr Hoar told the hearing which took place at the Royal Courts of Justice on 4 November: “This is a claim about freedom of expression of a doctor, in particular his freedom to engage in medical, scientific and political debate and discussion.”

In his ruling, Mr Justice Dove said that under provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998, the tribunal was required to ask itself whether the General Medical Council “would probably succeed at any subsequent tribunal hearing in imposing the restrictions which were now sought”.

The judge said it was “clear” that the tribunal had not directed itself to the tests required under the act. He concluded there had been “an error of law and a clear misdirection” in the tribunal’s decision-making process, and therefore the decision was “clearly wrong and cannot stand”.

 PHJ Law, Stamford and Corby based employment law experts representing Dr White celebrated the news, sharing the video message from their client as they claimed Twitter were ‘still imposing restrictions on him’ in the aftermath of the verdict.

 “Case won but Twitter ban still on,” they said.

 

The law firm said that the case wouldn’t have occurred in the first place if “civilised and respectful debate” had been allowed.

 

One user described the result as “momentous news” and congratulated the legal team.

 “Well done! A great victory for democracy whose hallmark is free speech,” one user said in response to PHJ Law. “As a health sciences student this (is) great to hear,” someone else added.

The case was picked up by DUP politician Paul Frew MLA who said that it was an “interesting case” that may prove to have a “major bearing on freedom of expression” for healthcare staff going forward.

While Dr White received a lot of support with many welcoming the verdict, some disputed the result, arguing that in their opinion, the GP had spread ‘misinformation’ whilst others pointed out that they were still having trouble accessing his Twitter account.

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