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Pub Landlord Charged in UK re Smoking Ban

First pub landlord charged with refusing to enforce smoking ban hit with £10,000 fine

Last updated at 13:34pm on 29th January 2008 – The Daily Mail UK

The first publican to be convicted after challenging the smoking ban is today facing a £10,000 legal bill.

Nick Hogan, 40, was taken to court after repeatedly flouting rules by letting customers light up in his pubs in Bolton, Greater Manchester. He pleaded not guilty, claiming he had “advised” customers about the ban and left them to decide whether to act on it.

But in the first conviction of its kind a district judge condemned Hogan for “flagrant breaches” of the law. Another landlord, from Blackpool, defied the smoking ban but last year admitted the charges in court. A Gloucestershire landlord who pleaded not guilty to defying the ban was acquitted.

The first person to be caught flouting the smoking ban, 47-year-old Gerard Hart, was spotted lighting up in Hogan’s Barristers pub. Today after Hogan was fined £3,000 plus costs of £7,236 he vowed to fight on against the ban.

He said: “I still believe that this legislation is draconian, and I am sure that the fight against it will go on. This was not just about smoking. It was about people’s rights.

“I’m not pro-smoking, but I am pro-choice. I have respect for the law, but I have no respect for an unfair law. I don’t want to break the law, but I feel I’ve been pushed into it.”

He added: “At the end of the day it’s my pub, not the Government’s. I have been asking for my day in court since the ban was introduced. I want to show that this legislation is unworkable and discriminatory.”

He had already held a “mass light-up” in defiance of the ban on the day it came into force – claiming he “wanted his day in court”. Inspectors found letters on tables saying: “The management and staff of The Swan believe you have the freedom to choose whether or not you wish to smoke. If you choose to smoke, it is entirely your responsibility.”

Hogan later asked the inspectors to leave as they tried to give him a warning that he could face a £2,500 fine if he continued to allow people to smoke inside.

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