Smoke ban rebel fails in High Court

By MA reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rebel hamish howitt Smoke ban rebel Human rights Hamish howitt

Hamish Howitt
Hamish Howitt
Blackpool smoke ban rebel Hamish Howitt has failed in a High Court claim that the ban is unlawful and a breach of human rights. Howitt - landlord of...

Blackpool smoke ban rebel Hamish Howitt has failed in a High Court claim that the ban is unlawful and a breach of human rights.

Howitt - landlord of Del-Boy's Sports Bar on Rigby Road, Blackpool, and the Happy Scots Karaoke Bar downstairs - was the first licensee in England to be prosecuted for flouting the smoking ban.

He had sought the go-ahead to bring a legal challenge to the smoking ban introduced under the 2006 Health Act. He claimed the ban was disproportionate, and said pubs were not "public places" and so should be exempt from the ban.

However, Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Tugendhat today ruled that his case was unarguable.

Tugendhat, giving the court's ruling, said: "Sympathetic as we are, it cannot be argued that the legislation is incompatible with the Human Rights Act. Nor can it be argued that the appellant's pub is not a public place."

Howitt, representing himself, had argued that a ban on smoking in public places was unlawful because it was disproportionate to the danger posed by cigarettes. He told the judges: "I would love everybody to stop smoking but the ban is not proportionate because cars are far more dangerous."

He also argued that pubs should not be considered public places, because of age limits and the fact that some gay bars could not be considered public.

After the judges refused permission to appeal, Mr Howitt said he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Howitt, of Park Road, Blackpool, was fined £500 by magistrates for flouting the smoking ban, and the Council then revoked his licence for Del-Boy's in November 2007.

Deputy District Judge Goodwin, at Blackpool Magistrates Court, reinstated his licence in 2008. However, in December last year, Deputy Judge Denyer at London's High Court overturned that decision, effectively revoking Mr Howitt's licence again.

Related topics Legislation

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