Smoke rebel Howitt: I'll go to jail for beliefs

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rebel hamish howitt Human rights Hamish howitt

Smoke rebel Howitt: I'll go to jail for beliefs
Smoke rebel Hamish Howitt has urged the authorities to put him behind bars. Howitt, owner of Delboys Sports Bar which incorporates Happy Scots...

Smoke rebel Hamish Howitt has urged the authorities to put him behind bars.

Howitt, owner of Delboys Sports Bar which incorporates Happy Scots karaoke bar, was in court today facing six charges of allowing smoking on his premises.

The rebel pleaded not guilty and a full trial will now take place on 26 March before a District Judge.

Howitt became the first licensee fined for flouting the ban two weeks ago when he pleaded guilty and was fined £500 and ordered to pay £2,000 costs. There was a £15 surcharge to help victims of crime.

Prison would be awful but I am prepared to go there for my beliefs.​Hamish HowittSmoke rebel

However, the fine this time is not likely to be as lenient. There are seven conditional discharges from the previous case hanging over his head with each carrying a maximum fine of £2,500.

The maximum fine handed out could be as much as £30,000.

Political conscience

"My political and social conscience won't allow me to change my mind,"​ he said.

"I can't throw the elderly out in the cold to smoke. I will take this fight all the way."

Howitt has sacked his barrister and is now representing himself. He hopes to prove that the working class has recognised status under the Human Rights Act, like gay or black people, and are being discriminated against because they are more likely to smoke.

"I want to take this all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. This is a hate crime against the working class."

Prison term

"At some stage the authorities will need an undertaking from me and I will refuse to give it. Prison would be awful but I am prepared to go there for my beliefs. If I am incarcerated the case will be fast-tracked."

Howitt has taken his pub off the market and plans to finance his fight by converting his house into flats and selling them off.

In addition, Howitt is changing the name of his registered political part from UK Fags to UK Working CLASS - with CLASS standing for Curfew, Legal, Apathy, Surpressed, Smokescreen.

He plans to stand for election as an MP at the next General Election.

Howitt added: "I am worrying myself sick but I can't back down."

Related topics Legislation

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