Halliday Sutherland

"A born writer, especially a born story-teller. Dr. Sutherland, who is distinguished in medicine, is an amateur in the sense that he only writes when he has nothing better to do. But when he does, it could hardly be done better." G.K. Chesterton.

Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial – Day One.

The pleadings were read aloud to the Court, following which Mr Patrick Hastings K.C. opened the trial for the plaintiff.

He portrayed Dr Stopes as a charitable scientist who, motivated by the public good, gave poor women access to knowledge of contraception. She had set up a society to support the clinic which attracted the support of persons of great eminence. Yet her work had been attacked by a Roman Catholic doctor. While Dr Sutherland was entitled to criticise her work, his criticisms were vicious and unfair.

Following Hastings’ opening speech, Sir James Barr appeared as the first witness for the plaintiff. Surely, it was preposterous to suggest that a man of this eminence would support a disreputable cause, let alone one that had committed a crime greater than the one for which Charles Bradlaugh had been imprisoned.

In the cross-examination, the defence showed that, despite his eminence, Barr was unfamiliar with the cervical cap and the Gold Pin. Barr said that there was nothing offensive or prurient about the plaintiff’s books, while the defence said the uncontrolled distribution of Stopes’ books was more extensive than the one which had led Bradlaugh to prison.

While the impact on the anonymous twelve men of the jury was not recorded, it had been a good opening for the plaintiff.

If you would like to learn more, you can so by watching the 2 1/2 minute video below:

… or listen to my interviews on:

Mark Sutherland
Curator, hallidaysutherland.com
Author, Exterminating Poverty: The true story of the eugenic plan to get rid of the poor, and the Scottish doctor who fought against it (in conjunction with Neil Sutherland).

One comment on “Stopes v. Sutherland libel trial – Day One.

  1. Pingback: Centenary of the Stopes v Sutherland libel trial - Halliday Sutherland

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Stopes v Sutherland libel trial 1922-24

Centenary of the House of Lords judgment21 November 2024
13 months to go.

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