Smoking now banned in public
places in Northern Ireland, April 30, 2007..
February 17, 2011 - A smoking ban challenger has failed in a new legal challenge against Northern Ireland's ban on lighting up in public. Senior judges threw out a bid by north Down man Chris Carter to quash his conviction for smoking at the front of Bangor Town Hall. Mr Carter claimed his rights to privacy and freedom from torture and discrimination were breached by the prohibition. He alleged that the ban was comparable to restrictions imposed by the Third Reich in Hitler's Germany.
But his case was dismissed because he was not held to have the status of a victim and as no breach of his human rights was established.
Lord Justice Coghlin said: "Furthermore, if such a breach had been established, we are satisfied that the ban on smoking restricted to public places falls within the margin of appreciation of the State being lawful and necessary in a democratic society."
Mr Carter, 56, who represented himself as a personal litigant, was seeking leave to apply for a judicial review of the legislation which led to him being fined and ordered to pay costs of £1,250 in total. He was prosecuted under the terms of the Smoking (NI) Order 2006 for lighting a cigarette in a no-smoking area in October 2007. Even though his application was dismissed by the High Court last June, Mr Carter was allowed to re-run his challenge in front of a three-judge panel. A Divisonal Court was convened on the basis that there was no jurisdiction for the original hearing because it was a criminal cause or matter.
Mr Carter, who describes himself as campaign manager for The Smokers Rights Appeal Fund UK Ireland, argued that the sovereignty of the United Kingdom has been infringed by anti-smoking laws coming from the European Union. Mr Carter claimed to have found parts in them similar to legislation brought in by Hitler between 1938-1942.
But Lord Justice Coghlin also held that he appeared to have based much of his argument on a misconception about the concept of sovereignty in UK constitutional law. "We have not been persuaded by the applicant's submissions that he has raised a case of bad faith, improper motive or manifest absurdity amounting to a flagrant and unconstitutional abuse of power," he said. "In such circumstances we do not consider that this court has any power to reopen the policy debates that led to the passage of the Order."
Let's not forget that Northern Ireland - 9 of 10 households would welcome a ban on smoking in cars with children present.. - let's get it done..
Reference: A pro-smoking campaigner has failed in a new legal challenge against Northern Ireland's ban on lighting up in public, UTV News, 2/14/2011.