Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Smoking ban legal case was waste of money, says judge

A High Court judge has denounced a north Down man for “squandering” funds raised to challenge smoking legislation in a legal case.

Chris Carter (56) was convicted in 2007 of flouting Northern Ireland's smoking ban.

Yesterday he lost his legal challenge to the legislation.

But despite Mr Justice Treacy describing the bid as “utterly devoid of legal merit”, Mr Carter said he will appeal the decision.

Mr Carter claimed laws which led to him being fined for lighting up at council offices breached his human rights.

The former security consultant was also seeking to judicially review being refused permission to call the Secretary of State and Chief Medical Officer as part of his defence against prosecution.

Mr Carter, who has referred to himself as campaign manager of The Smokers Rights Appeal Fund UK Ireland, launched judicial review proceedings after a County Court Judge upheld the conviction.

But Mr Justice Treacy yesterday dismissed the case he brought himself after finding it was misconceived.

Mr Justice Treacy said: “The squandering of solicited public funds on an application so utterly devoid of legal merit is to be deprecated.”

Following the ruling Mr Carter vowed to appeal and likened the smoking ban to a fascist law in Nazi Germany.

The Bangor man was prosecuted for allegedly lighting a cigarette at North Down Borough Council headquarters in 2007.

Under the terms of the Smoking (NI) Order 2006 he was convicted and ordered to pay a fine and costs of £1,250 in total.

His case involved claims that he was denied permission to call high-profile witnesses during a challenge to the validity of the legislation.

He further claimed the 2006 Order was incompatible with rights prohibiting discrimination and torture, and protecting privacy, under European laws.

But Mr Justice Treacy held that the County Court Judge had made clear the only limited restriction on Mr Carter smoking was in designated public places,

Outside the court Mr Carter insisted his fight would go on. He confirmed plans to lodge an immediate appeal within 21 days

“I have found that the legislation we have today emulates that of legislation passed in 1938 by Hitler's Germany,” he claimed.

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