A PUB landlord has been jailed after refusing to pay fines imposed when he defied the smoking ban.
Nick Hogan, former landlord of The Swan and Barristers in Bradshawgate, Bolton, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £7,136 in costs when he was found guilty of breaching the ban in January, 2008.
He appealed the conviction but lost, and an extra £1,000 was added to the costs.
But Hogan, aged 43, of Hollinshead Street, Chorley, has failed to pay the money and yesterday he appeared at Bolton Magistrates’ Court where he was sent to prison for six months.
His wife, Denise Hogan, who is the landlady at The Swan With Two Necks in Chorley, said after the hearing: “He has not hurt anyone or robbed a bank. I feel lost for words that he has been sent to prison for letting someone smoke a cigarette.
“I think that the courts are making an example of him and I am devastated.
“I believed in everything that he said, but he just went the wrong way about it.”
When the smoking ban was introduced in July, 2007, Hogan told The Bolton News that he believed in letting people choose.
He said at the time: “This isn’t about smoking, it’s about freedom of choice and I’m prepared to go to court to fight for what I believe in.
“This legislation is dictatorial and I’m going to allow people the freedom to choose.”
When Bolton Council brought the prosecution he pleaded not guilty to five counts of failing to prevent people from smoking in his pubs and four of obstructing council officers.
District Judge Timothy Devas found him guilty of four charges of allowing people to smoke.
He was cleared of one count because he was not on the premises at the time, and he was found not guilty of four obstruction charges.
If a fine is not paid, court enforcement officers follow it up, and if it remains outstanding the case will be brought back to court for magistrates to give an alternative sentence.
A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The court’s decision marks the end of a lengthy process and proves that, ultimately, flouting the law can have severe repercussions.
“Mr Hogan represented a very small minority and we approached him on numerous occasions about his actions. Before the smoking ban came into force the council adopted an educational approach to enforcement and the majority of local businesses were supportive of the ban.
“However, we always maintained that if people broke the law we would take further action and will continue to do so. Mr Hogan was fined for his actions and was made well aware by the courts of the implications of non-payment.”
A spokesman for anti-smoking lobby group ASH said: “The smoking legislation is very clear. Having exposure to tobacco is a serious health issue and by allowing people to smoke in a pub he was putting the health of all his customers at risk.”