Sunday Times Journalist Instigated GMC Case Against Dr Andrew Wakefield

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ChildHealthSafety can now reveal exclusively worldwide further evidence proving conclusively The Sunday Times freelance journalist Brian Deer is not only the main complainant but the instigator of and actively planned from the outset to bring about the marathon UK General Medical Council proceedings against eminent gastroenterologists Drs Andrew Wakefield, Simon Murch and Professor Walker-Smith relating to research into autism, bowel disease and the safety of the MMR vaccine. Brian Deer is also responsible for the now shown to be false ‘’MMR Data Fixing’ allegations against Dr Andrew Wakefield [Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation“]

Shattering the denials of The Sunday Times freelance journalist Brian Deer and those of the GMC to his not being the main complainant and instigator of the GMC proceedings is the formal published English High Court judgement of Justice Eady: Wakefield v Channel Four Television Corp & Ors [2006] EWHC 3289 (QB) (21 December 2006)

The Judgement was given in open Court proceedings in which The Sunday Times freelancer concerned, a Mr Brian Deer was a party and is named as a defendant. The judgement states simply, with clarity and the specific dates on which journalist Brian Deer instigated and then pursued his complaints with the GMC against Dr Wakefield:-

2. The background to the litigation is the long standing controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine. The Claimant is a gastroenterologist. The first Defendant (‘Channel 4′) is a broadcasting corporation, which broadcast on 18 November 2004 a programme which forms the subject-matter of these proceedings, and which was produced by the second Defendant and presented by the third Defendant (‘Mr Deer’).‘’.

3. Well before the programme was broadcast Mr Deer had made a complaint to the GMC about the Claimant. His communications were made on 25 February, 12 March and 1 July 2004 ‘. it seems likely that a hearing will take place commencing in July 2007 and lasting for many weeks.‘

The timing of Deer’s first letter of complaint to the GMC of 25th February 2004 shows Deer wasted no time after the publication of his Sunday 22rd February 2004 Sunday Times stories against Wakefield. Other information in ChildHealthSafety’s possession shows Deer had planned from the outset to get Wakefield before the GMC on charges. Before a single word had been written by him Deer had consulted with and been given free advice and assistance by Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry company Medico-Legal Investigations Limited, whose speciality was getting doctors on charges before the GMC and with co-directors of its board from the ABPI: MLI Newsletter March 2004 Issue 10. See ABPI formalises links with clinical fraud investigation firm March 18, 2000 The Pharmaceutical Journal Vol 264 No 7088 p426.

The 70 plus pages of GMC charges against Dr Wakefield are based substantially on the charges the journalist himself made to The Lancet Editor, Dr Richard Horton in February 2004. The earlier versions of Sunday Times freelancer Brian Deer’s website also confirmed Deer’s allegations were the basis for the complaints.

But Deer was also not working alone. Deer was working hand-in-hand with Dr Evan Harris a British Member of Parliament, Glaxo-Wellcome Fellow and active Member of the British Medical Association and Harris even at that early stage attended with Deer at the offices of The Lancet, as Lancet Editor Dr Horton recorded later in his book, on these events [“MMR Science and Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis,“]. This was also confirmed by Harris indirectly in Parliament and later by the public attendance by him with Deer at the GMC hearings against Wakefield in London, England.

But things did not go the way Harris and Deer appear to have planned. Dr Horton and The Sunday Times rejected all but one charge. The Sunday Times went on in February 2004 to publish that charge as the main story by the freelance journalist against Dr Andrew Wakefield, but that too seems in jeopardy of failing following recent evidence in the proceedings.

So the bulk of Deer’s charges against Wakefield did not by this time see the light of day and were not in the public domain.

To compound this the GMC at this early stage had no idea how to formulate any kind of charge against Dr Wakefield as Dr Horton also recorded in his book [“MMR Science and Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis,“]. The day after Deer’s February 22nd 2004 Sunday Times story, Horton was exchanging notes over dinner and liqueurs with a member of the UK’s medical regulatory body, The General Medical Council on possible bases for GMC proceedings against Andrew Wakefield: [“The confusion”: Richard Horton – a remarkably frank passage‘ John Stone BMJ 2 November 2004].

By 29th February it was being reported in the UK media it was unlikely any charges would be brought by the GMC. Wakefield unlikely to be charged over MMR scare – The Independent – By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor – Sunday, 29 February 2004.

Things were moving too slowly for Harris and Deer and they were in danger of losing the momentum: The UK’s medical oversight body, the General Medical Council, is considering an investigation of these charges.New Scientist Controversial MMR and autism study retracted 4 March 2004 by Maggie McKee

Dr Evan Harris applied for an adjournment debate in the English Parliament to move matters on. On 15th March Harris got his debate and used this opportunity to launch a defamatory attack on Dr Wakefield protected from legal proceedings by British Parliamentary Privilege and in which he set out all of Deer’s allegations, including those The Sunday Times and The Lancet had rejected three weeks previously. That Harris was briefed by and working with The Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer was revealed by Harris in the debate where he also revealed Deer had been given confidential documents from The Royal Free Hospital by the Royal Free’s Strategic Health Authority: Hansard 15th March 2004

Information obtained by ChildHealthSafety under Freedom of Information shows that Deer had in fact been using documents leaked by an insider at the Royal Free Hospital at an earlier time. The Royal Free documents appeared at a much later stage shortly before publication of Deer’s story in February 2004.

After this matters changed and as reported by Deer himself on his own website [but now removed by him] GMC inquiry: After submissions by Brian Deer to the UK General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory body announced a public inquiry into the affair. The Sunday Times, December 12 2004.

Only yesterday, 12th February, Deer was threatening legal proceedings by letter to NBC TV’s US programme Countdown in which US TV presenter Keith Olberman it seems named Deer on 11th February as ‘world’s worst person’. Deer complained in his letter of Olberman accusing Deer of ‘dishonesty and malfeasance’ in connection with Deer’s work as a journalist for The Sunday Times. The news of Deer’s activities has been taken up in the USA after earlier worldwide exclusive stories this week by ChildHealthSafety were taken up by journalist Melanie Phillips in The Spectator.

Dr Andrew Wakefield’s own defamation proceedings against Brian Deer and UK’s Channel 4 Television were dropped when the English High Court refused to adjourn the proceedings pending the outcome of the GMC proceedings. Faced with the pressure of two sets of complex lengthy proceedings running in parallel, Dr Wakefield withdrew his libel case. One of the problems facing a medical doctor in England is that the UK’s main medical organisations which provide and pay for legal assistance for proceedings against doctors normally insist the doctors do not speak to the media about their cases. The potential threat of withdrawal of funding is a real one for the vast majority of doctors in the UK, who follow the instruction not to comment to the media.

Brian Deer has waged an extensive personal campaign against Dr Andrew Wakefield over many years leading to the present GMC proceedings. It seems the freelancer has also been been changing information on his website which previously confirmed his involvement as the main complainant, but other information remains which it is difficult to remove without notice.

Statements by the The Sunday Times freelancer on earlier versions of his now-changed website together with now-difficult-to-remove documents also show the freelancer is the complainant-in-fact in the GMC proceedings.

Documents published up to four years ago on his website reveal that the GMC had told Dr Wakefield’s lawyers, Radcliffes le Brasseur, that the freelancer was the complainant. The freelancer had in all the time those documents appeared not denied, clarified or contradicted those statements. This also suggests that at the time the documents were first posted on the website, the freelancer was, as Wakefield’s lawyers had been told by the GMC, the main complainant. The text of a letter from the lawyers in November 2004 to Channel 4 Television states:-

it is also right to say at this time that he has made a formal statutory complaint to the General Medical Council against Mr Wakefield and others .’

A statement previously made and now removed by The Sunday Times freelancer from his website referred to “a General Medical Council [GMC] fitness to practice panel hearing – arising from the investigation set out on this page”. In other words, there was and is no main complainant-in-fact other than The Sunday Times freelance journalist Brian Deer, however else the freelancer and GMC wished to finesse the substance of the matter.

The present GMC proceedings stem seemingly and unusually not from the freelancer reporting in the manner of a professional journalist the assessment of an external independent medical expert nor the complaints of a parent. Instead the GMC’s case, as confirmed by the freelancer himself is based substantially upon his own investigations and non-expert assessment of complex technical documents and medical matters, in which his qualification is a BA degree in philosophy from Warwick University, England.

How it is that a UK national paper with an international reputation like The Sunday Times could have published stories by such a journalist remains to be answered. Information received by ChildHealthSafety as well as written claims by Brian Deer suggest some of the circumstances of how this came to be would make a conspiracy theory a preferable answer to a simple reality. The information suggests that at least in part, and possibly understandably no one at The Sunday Times properly understood such a complex matter and more faith was placed in Brian Deer’s ability than appears warranted.

Unreported by the British media, Brian Deer’s charges have been steadily demolished by lawyers and witness evidence in the unprecedented GMC hearings over the past three years. No parents of autistic children had complained.

Further details of The Sunday Times’ freelancer’s part in the British establishment’s efforts to discredit Wakefield were reported by ChildHealthSafety here: British Government & Establishment’s Efforts to Deny Compensation to MMR Vaccine Child Victims

This news comes after ChildHealthSafety’s other recent reports into the journalist and his activities [including “Sunday Times – Sinks To New Low With Yet More MMR Junk Journalism” 8th February 2009] and the reports of the formidable respected and seasoned British journalist Melanie Phillips’ in The Spectator [The witch-hunt against Andrew Wakefield Wednesday, 11th February 2009] commenting on ChildHealthSafety’s exclusive revelations and in which Phillips asks:-

Since when has a reputable paper published a story by a reporter who is actually part of that story himself ‘without saying so’ and who uses information arising from the disciplinary hearing which he himself has instigated and which is investigating allegations he himself made in the first place’‘

The GMC has able to maintain the fiction that the freelancer is not the complainant, whilst simultaneously his being the ‘complainant-in-fact’. Under the anomalous nature of the way UK GMC proceedings are brought, compared to legal standards in other types of cases and jurisdictions, the identity of the ‘complainant-in-fact’ or source of an inquiry may be different from any formally stated source. Complainants to the GMC can routinely be afforded anonymity. The GMC can substitute itself for the complainant-in-fact or pursue a complaint itself, or give the appearance of the latter. The defending doctor in UK GMC proceedings may never learn the identity of the complainant.

Extracts from Sunday Times freelance journalist Brian Deer’s website admitting Deer made the complaints to the UK’s General Medical Council [click image to enlarge – opens in new window]:-


The journalist who has run a personal campaign against Wakefield on his website has made recent public appeals for donations to support his ‘work’:

[click image to enlarge – opens in new window]:-

The Link Between Vaccines and Autism

In a number of cases in the US Federal Court, which have involved the link between vaccines causing autism specifically and other serious conditions, not only has the Court found that vaccines were responsible for causing the symptoms of autism, but the defendant, the US Secretary for Health and Human Services conceded the link without going to trial in a confidential settlement in a case the details of which were leaked and which became a cause célèbre in the USA in 2008-9: AUTISM – US Court Decisions and Other Recent Developments – It’s Not Just MMR.

A leading vaccine safety expert and a lead author of the definitive review of scientific evidence claimed to prove no link between the MMR vaccine and autism published by the Cochrane Collaboration of MMR safety stated in an interview with Dr Richard Halvorsen for his book The Truth about Vaccines

The safety studies of MMR vaccine are crap. They’re the best crap we have but they’re still crap’.

In contrast, aside from the pandemic numbers of children developing autism since the substantial increase in the numbers of vaccines given to children since the 1980’s, there is a growing body of scientific evidence of the link between vaccines and autism.

For details of the US Federal Court Hannah Poling case a paper from the Journal of Child Neurology states:-

Young children who have dysfunctional cellular energy metabolism therefore might be more prone to undergo autistic regression between 18 and 30 months of age if they also have infections or immunizations at the same time. Although patterns of regression can be genetically and prenatally determined, it is possible that underlying mitochondrial dysfunction can either exacerbate or affect the severity of regression. Abnormalities of oxidative phosphorylation can be developmental and age related and can normalize with time.

Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism (Journal of Journal of Child Neurology / Volume 21, Number 2, February 2006)

In another US Federal Court case, that of Ben Zeller who had a proven developmental delay caused by vaccines, the judgement records that the defendant US Department of Health and Human Services had no alternative explanation beyond:-

Unconfirmed speculation by a few treating doctors, as with Dr. Wiznitzer’s hypothesization’

ChildHealthSafety will in addition be publishing further scientific evidence from published papers showing clear evidence of the direct causal association between vaccines and autism.

Some of the research into the links between mitochondrial dysfunction revealed in the Hannah Poling and other US Federal Court cases can be found here: Explaining Vaccines Autism & Mitochondrial Disorder

References to some of the formal medical papers by Wakefield and others providing evidence of the link are set out at the end of this article.

Vaccine Risks Outweigh Risk of Disease

Autism – A serious problem being ignored

19 Children A Day – 4 in 5 is a Boy

Autism in Britian outstrips all other major disorders affecting British children combined and is substantially more serious than measles. Every day 19 British children develop autism spectrum disorders:

  • this will be 600,000 British children and adults in the future (birth rate approx 600,000 p.a.)
  • and horrific prospects for expectant parents
    • 1 in every 54 boys will be on the Autistic Spectrum
    • autism affects 4 times as many boys
    • so 1 in 215 girls are affected as well

[* 19 a day and 1 in 54 come from: Baird et Al Prevalence of disorders of the autism spectrum in a population cohort of children in South Thames: the Special Needs and Autism Project (SNAP); Lancet 2006;368:210 ‘15. This research revealed 1 in 86 British children are being diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders (116.1 in 10,000).

4/5 x 116.1/5000 = 1 in 54 (4/5ths of the 116.1 are boys and approx 5000 of the 10,000 children affected will be boys)]

Measles Comparison

See here how the risk to children in Western economies from measles is now insignificant for the vast majority Measles – The Official UK Statistics.

For the USA see US Measles Data and generally see Risk to Children & Government Scaremongering.


The evidence in this rechallenge study of a large number of children is strong proof confirming the association and was presented by Dr Wakefield in closed session to the US Institute of Medicine before issuing a report which neither confirmed nor denied the link – the data was ignored and no transcript of the IoM session has been disclosed:-

Wakefield A, Stott C, Limb K. Gastrointestinal comorbidity, autistic regression and Measles-containing vaccines: positive re-challenge and biological gradient. Medical Veritas: 3 (2006) 796’802.

This study also confirms the association:-

PERSISTENT ILEAL MEASLES VIRUS in a Large Cohort of Regressive Autistic Children WITH ILEOCOLITIS AND LYMPHONODULAR HYPERPLASIA: ReVisitation of an Earlier Study

Walker, S.J., Hepner K., Segal, J., & Krigsman A., Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 USA

Conclusions: Preliminary results from this large cohort of pediatric autistic patients with chronic GI symptoms confirm earlier findings of measles virus RNA in the terminal ileum and support an association between measles virus and ileocolitis /LNH.

As do these studies:-

Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Singh VK, Jensen RL. Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Apr;28(4):292-4.

Abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies and CNS autoimmunity in children with autism. Singh VK, Lin SX, Newell E, Nelson C. J Biomed Sci. 2002 Jul-Aug;9(4):359-64.

Serological association of measles virus and human herpesvirus-6 with brain autoantibodies in autism. Singh VK, Lin SX, Yang VC. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998 Oct;89(1):105-8.

There are many studies addressing childhood developmental disorders and gastrointestinal disease:-

CDD and Gastrointestinal Disease

1. Wakefield AJ, Anthony A, Murch SH, Thomson M, Montgomery SM, Davies S, Walker-Smith JA. Enterocolitis in children with developmental disorder. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2000;95:2285-2295

2. Furlano RI, Anthony A, Day R, Brown A, McGavery L, Thomson MA, Davies SE, Berelowitz M, Forbes A, Wakefield AJ, Walker-Smith JA, Murch SH. Colonic CD8 and gamma delta T-cell infiltration with epithelial damage in children with autism. Journal of Pediatrics 2001;138:366-72.

3. Wakefield AJ. The New Autism (Invited Article) Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry 2002;7:518-528

4. Wakefield AJ., Puleston J. Montgomery SM., Anthony A., O’Leary J.J., Murch SH Entero-colonic encephalopathy, autism and opioid receptor ligands. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 2002;16:663-674

5. Torrente F., Machado N., Perez-Machado M., Furlano R., Thomson M., Davies S., Wakefield AJ, Walker-Smith JA, Murch SH. Enteropathy with T cell infiltration and epithelial IgG deposition in autism. Molecular Psychiatry. 2002;7:375-382

6. Wakefield AJ, Ashwood P, Limb K, Anthony A. The significance of ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia in children with autistic spectrum disorder. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2005: 17

7. Ashwood P, Anthony A, Pellicer AA, Torrente F, Wakefield AJ. Intestinal lymphocyte populations in children with regressive autism: Evidence for extensive mucosal immunopathology. Journal of Clinical Immunology, 2003;23:504-517.

8. Ashwood P, Anthony A, Torrente F, Wakefield AJ., Spontaneous mucosal lymphocyte cytokine profiles in children with regressive autism and gastrointestinal symptoms: Mucosal immune activation and reduced counter regulatory interleukin-10. Journal of Clinical Immunology. 2004:24:664-673

9. The Gut-Brain Axis in Childhood Developmental Disorders: Viruses and Vaccines. Wakefield AJ., Collins I., Ashwood P. Invited chapter in Infectious Disease and Neuropsychiatric Disorders Chapter 21, pp 198-206. Ed. S.H. Fatemi

10. Wakefield AJ. The Gut-Brain Axis in Childhood developmental Disorders. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2002;34:S14-S17

11. Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, Linnell J, Casson DM, Malik M, Berelowitz M, Dhillon AP, Thomson MA, Harvey P, Valentine A, Davies SE, Walker-Smith JA: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 1998 Feb 28;351(9103): 637-41

12. Ashwood P, Wakefield A. Immune activation of peripheral blood and mucosal CD3+ lymphocyte cytokine profiles in children with autism and gastrointestinal symptoms. Journal of Neuroimmunology: 2006 Feb 20.

13. Wakefield A, Stott C, Limb K. Gastrointestinal comorbidity, autistic regression and Measles-containing vaccines: positive re-challenge and biological gradient. Medical Veritas: 3 (2006) 796’802.

Etiology of CDD

1. Wakefield AJ and Montgomery SM. Autism, viral infection and measles mumps rubella vaccination. Israeli Medical Association Journal 1999;1:183-187

2. Montgomery SM, Morris DL, Pounder RE, Wakefield AJ. Paramyxovirus infections in childhood and subsequent inflammatory bowel disease. Gastroenterology 1999;116:796-803

3. Kawashima H., Takayuki M., Kashiwagi Y., Takekuma K., Hoshika A., Wakefield AJ. Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2000;45:723-729

4. Wakefield AJ and Montgomery SM. Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine: through a glass, darkly. Adverse Drug Reactions & Toxicological Reviews 2000;19:265-283

5. Uhlmann V., Martin C, Shiels, Wakefield AJ, O.Leary JJ. Possible viral pathogenesis of a novel paediatric inflammatory bowel disease. Molecular Pathology 2002;55:84-90

6. Bradstreet JJ., El Dahr J., Anthony A., Kartzinel J., Wakefield AJ, Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Children with Regressive Autism: a Report of Three Cases Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. 2004.9:39-45

7. Wakefield AJ. Enterocolitis, autism and measles virus. Molecular Psychiatry. 2002;7:S44-46

8. O’Leary JJ, Uhlmann V, Wakefield AJ. Measles virus and autism. Lancet. 2000;356:772 (letter)

9. Wakefield AJ. MMR vaccination and autism. Lancet. 1999;354:949-50 (letter)

10. Stott C., Blaxill M., Wakefield AJ. MMR and Autism in Perspective: the Denmark Story. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 2004;9:89-91

11. Wakefield AJ. Entero-colitis, Autism and Measles Virus. Consensus in Child Neurology. 2002;6:74-77

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Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation

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Notes on terminology:-

In the US the official diagnostic definition of what we call ‘Autism Spectrum Disorders’ or ASD are instead called ‘Pervasive Development Disorders’ or PDD for short. That is under the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn)’ or ‘DSM IV’ for short.

’Autistic Spectrum Disorder’ is the term applied internationally under the ‘ICD’ or ‘International Classification of Disease’

Many refer to ASD and PDD as ‘autism’ but ‘autism’ is a subset of the spectrum and is often referred to also as ‘childhood autism’, ‘typical autism’ and ‘Kanner autism’. [The common behaviours like hand flapping, loss of eye contact and suchlike in young children are unmistakable, whereas other spectrum disorders like mild Aspergers Syndrome can be more difficult to diagnose.]

Copyright ChildHealthSafety 2009 – The authors hereby assert their moral rights. All rights reserved.