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Friday, 16 October 2009

No "Justice for Smokers" anywhere!

Remember todays date folks, Friday 16th October, 2009, for today is the day when any form of "justice" (we endeavour to uphold in this country) disappeared over the hillside with it's backside on fire! Today is the day when, unquestionably, the court system has been shown to be in the pockets of the anti smoking brigade and smokers branded the new 'cash cows' of our society-whether the accused is actually smoking or not is totally irrelevant!
Today is also the day that millions of ordinary people have been laid wide open to prosecution (abuse) by the new secret police force of this country-Environmental Health Officers! It appears that 'they' (EHO's) can state anything they like to gain a prosecution and they don't have to have the ability to back it up!
A lorry driver appeared in court some months ago charged with smoking whilst in charge of his vehicle. He was actually parked up having his dinner break. A local EHO parked some 22ft behind him and "observed the accused smoking in his cab".
We digress here: the lorry is 66ft long and of the petro-chemical carrier type. This means the EHO was sitting 88ft behind the relaxing driver.
The EHO stated that she clearly saw the driver 'flick ash' out of the cab and onto the ground - at 88ft? You are clearly having a laugh. She took photographs of the rear of the lorry before driving ahead of the parked vehicle, turning back and taking a photograph of the front cab of the lorry. Neither photograph shows the driver actually smoking, in fact the frontal photograph does not even show the driver sitting in his cab!
Upon issuing a fixed penalty notice to the drivers employers, the driver lost his job - no surprise there then. However, the driver, being a sensible sort of chap dismissed the 'FPN' as superfluous for the simple reason that he was 'vapourising' not smoking; ie, taking comfort from an e-cig (an electronic cigarette) as he knew the law and also had the small matter of 5,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid sploshing about behind the cab. (Yes, you may start wondering where the supposed 'flicked ash' came from.
The 'FBN' duly ignored caused the inevitable summons to be issued to appear before the magistrates court. Our friend the driver relished the opportunity to clear his previously unblemished name in the court, for as he stated "I have done nothing wrong". Sadly, our friend did one thing terribly wrong-he tried to represent himself!
He produced evidence of purchase (e-cigs)b to verify the fact that he had actually bought them prior to this supposed offence (this was dismissed as faked evidence!) and he defended himself as stoutly as his limited legal knowledge allowed.
The EHO produced the same photo's and stated she could clearly see the driver smoking (from 88ft [?]) and remained steadfast about watching 'cigarette ash' fall to the floor. Upon request, there were no photographs produced of the incriminating 'ash', nor the 'cigarette butt' supposedly ejected from the cab. Apparently the EHO had not seen fit to take such pictures which of course would have been incontravertible proof of the accusation levelled against the driver.
The upshot was that the innocent driver was found guilty and fined just over £700 for his apparent sins. The EHO was deemed a 'credible witness', even though she could provide no proof of the allegation!
The driver decided to take legal advice and an appeal was rapidly lodged.
Today, Friday 16th October, 2009 was the day our friend the driver would surely clear his name and this most dubious conviction be quashed.

Appearing in the Crown Court presided over by a proper Judge - you know the type, one of those learned people well versed in law - our driver had representation of the highest calibre provided by the top law firm in that area.....let the battle for justice begin.
Let me state here and now that the press were not informed of this appeal as a media frenzy would, it was suspected, severely taint the drivers chances - after all, we are dealing with a high profile criminal activity here (smoking) not some trivial £20m bank fraud or £20m drugs ring!

The EHO was the first to come under fire as the Judge ridiculed her affirmation that she 'had seen a cigarette being smoked from 88ft away-even espying the ash falling from the end of supposed cigarette'. He declared that such was an optical impossibilty. Asked about the photographs she stated that they proved the driver was indeed the driver of that lorry, on that day and at that time. What!
The driver had never disputed that from the very inset of this fiasco. Her testimony was labelled as 'inaccurate & incorrect'.

The local council were next to come under the Judges scrutiny as he basically told them that the prosecution should never have been.

Upon questioning, the driver admitted that he had smoked for 35 years and that he had smoked in the cab prior to July 1st, 2007 (though not when carrying high ectane substances) and had purchased the e-cigs as a substitute for his beloved cigarettes. He agreed that they were no substitute for the real thing but as a stop-gap after his lunch he was prepared to soldier on with them. The driver also asked why the EHO did not approach him to ascertain whether he was smoking or evidence, the silly woman declared she was "frightened for her safety". Do we now have an unwritten law that all smokers are a violent menace to society? If confronting a smoker are we expected to end up on hospital battered and bruised. Unbelievably her reasoning for keeping her distance (88ft) was accepted.

The Judge retired to deliberate - for all of 45 seconds - returning to pronounce (mumble actually) the "appeal dismissed". No grounds, no mindblowing legal reasons, just appeal dismissed before he rapidly left the courtroom.

Our driver and his barrister sat stunned for several minutes before the second bombshell was confirmed - another £500 in costs to the already jobless driver. An e-cig had now cost the poor fellow £1,200, yet there should never have been a prosecution in the first place! He now has a criminal record for using a perfectly legal device and little prospects of continuing his career as a lorry/tanker driver thanks to the complete unprofessionalism of a totally incompetent EHO - who, in my humble opinion, should now be summarily tried & shot!

The driver was of a mind to take this ridiculous prosecution all the way to the European Courts but having suffered 'justice' today in the Crown Court has revised his opinion of such:- Quote: "What is the point of causing myself any further financial damage? There is no justice in this country anymore-not for smokers anyway. They have imposed this stupid, nation dividing law and have turned it into a 'cash-cow', Jesus bloody Christ I wasn't even smoking a f.....g cigarette, they were at home on the shelf!. It's obvious to me that EHO's don't need any training at all, their word is gospel, they can lie, be proven factually incorrect yet still be believed".

He further lamented that "our court system, once famed for being the fairest and most diligent in the world was nothing but a circus act under the direction of a government hellbent on extracting monies from its people under any guise".

Sadly, I could not agree more with his words for today, Friday 26th October, 2009 is the day that British "Justice" disappeared over the hillseide with it's backside on fire!


Anonymous said...

Magistrates and Judges have their guidelines from those on high, which they MUST obey. The guidelines must state that smokers are guilty, whether they are smoking or not.

TheBigYin said...

It sure is a sad day for justice and smokers. It appears that judges and the courts have been told to come down hard on any smoking ban infringements, whether guilty or not! Bastards!

Anonymous said...

There comes a time when defiance of the "world ruler" (as Jesus called it) is the only morally just course of action, having to do with either truth, honesty, fairness and justice prevails or else the ruling lie becomes the foundation bedrock upon which society builds its structure.

Once "the lie" becomes "truth", then all hell will break out in all corners - nobody is safe any longer - and those bleating on for smoking bans will be swept up in the tide of injustice with no recourse for petty crimes and misdemeanors against the state.

It's what gave license to Hitler, Mao, Stalin, the rest, at the root core. It's what always has. Never fails.

The choice ultimately will come down to that and there will need to be 1,000 Rosa Parks somewhere prepared to act in defiance simultaneously in a non-violent but coordinated manner.

It has jumped outside the barricade surrounding "those smokers" and into the realm of all people, as the system has been corrupted.

Going forward on that basis as root then the occurence of the latest reincarnation of the anti-Christ will be guaranteed for certain and his name or party affiliation will be of no significance.

B7 said...

We are losing our freedoms on a daily basis, cases like this highlight how low and non Christian a society we have become, free speech and fairness have been stifled and this is deemed acceptable by our government.

Are the Judges being instructed to make sure that even innocent people associated with smoking are to be found guilty at all costs? if this is the case lets hope it is revealed as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

The driver should pursue the matter further on appeal. If the barrister was any good he would take the case. The driver should represent himself again if the barrister will not help as he now knows how to do it.
The driver should refuse to pay any fine and so he may as well get fined by a higher court.
What does it matter if the fine is £1200 or £12,000.
'Hung for a sheep' comes to mind

Pat Nurse said...

They have tried persuasion and coercion on non-compliant smokers and now they resort to criminalisation of decent hard working people to force their will upon us.

Will this persecution never end?

Anonymous said...

An interesting and senseless case if ever there was one.
Putting aside the fact that smoking in his cab should, if he is alone, be a matter of personal choice and the safety of his load. It would appear that, for the first time, someone has been prosecuted under a statute without proof or evidence to substantiate the case.
Now, we all know that "the law is an ass" and this is a case of it braying in all it's glory.

One wonders, pragmatically, what he should do next. This, to me, will be decided by how much stress and risk the man concerned is prepared to take. His problem now is that, having been found "guilty" by two courts, these decisions will colour any further and higher appeals he wishes to make. He is now in the position of having to prove his innocence - as he has already been found guilty. Just ask the Birmingham 6 how long this can take!
If I were him, I would now seek publicity for his plight and use this to pursue his case. Th fact that he was vaping and not smoking gives a good angle. The headline "Man prosecuted for trying to quit smoking" would, I think get the attention of more than a few and, if he could get someone to work on the PR side for him, his appeals could be paid for by others.
Having said that - I would understand if he had simply had enough and walked away from the fight a poorer but less stressed man.
This could become a test case when it comes to e-fags. The problem is that, from a distance, they cannot easily be distinguished from the real thing - a fact that I have said all along (and why we made the ends of ours glow blue). Had he been using one of these, he could have discredited the witness by demonstrating it to the judge.
I don't agree that justice has "died" - I think it demonstrates that it is as biased as it ever was - and bloody stupid, maddening and unfair. It always will be whilst it is run and judged by fallible humans.

Barking Spider said...

EHOs, like the class sneak, the one everybody hates - no wonder they fear for their safety! People only have so much tolerance towards the hectoring and bullying that has become so much of and so intrusive in our everyday lives and the fact is these EHOs all know they are being total cunts and deserve a good twatting/kicking. I wonder how long it will take for the first severe twatting to occur, along with the destruction of the offending/offensive camera!!! Grrrr!!!

Anonymous said...

"This could become a test case when it comes to e-fags. The problem is that, from a distance, they cannot easily be distinguished from the real thing."

That may be true technically speaking, but in a world not gone insane, smoking in the comfort of one's privacy, be it e-fag or real-fag, would not be a criminal activity and the state would bud out of private affairs.

So the real problem isn't that e-fags glow red but that the state has acquired too much power and mainly through the policy advocations of anti-smoking hysterics who have fully monopolized and control the government and police state we now embrace and enjoy.

Anonymous said...

what happened to this man is a disgrace. I admire his courage to take it this far. By fighting this kind of silly legislation in the courts we all benefit as sometimes we will win. I personally would be happy to contribute a small sum to his legal costs. I imagine others feel the same, is anyone trying to set anything up? Would Mr Minihan accept contributions?

handymanphil said...

Phil Johnson,
Club&Pub Liaison Officer,
37,Windley Road,

As writer of this blog and trusted confidante of this driver I can assure everyone that he would be delighted to receive any financial help from anyone in the land, as this ludicrous prosecution/conviction has cost the man his livelyhood (even before the magistrates hearing!) - and all because an EHO supposedly 'saw' him smoking from 88ft away! You could not make it up if you tried!
Having spoken to him this morning (Tuesday 20th Oct) I can categorically state that he is still dumbstruck at the total lack of evidence that has 'convicted' him.
I am awaiting copies of the transcript of the court hearing before the next move is made.
However, setting up a national fund is the definite way forward to the Appeal Courts therefore any donations should be sent to the above address.
We at freedom2choose feel very strongly for this man as in no way has justice prevailed in this case. Even less so has the maxim of 'guilt proven beyond reasonable doubt' been adhered to. In short, even though not actually smoking, a smoke related case has been dealt with in the severest manner-almost guilt by association! In other words "you smoke therefore you lose".

TheBigYin said...

Within a day or two Phil a fighting fund will be set up on this blog to aid Chris Minihan in his quest for justice. I will update this blog regularly and put a donate button on the right hand panel.

The fight for justice must not be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Phil..A donation on its way for chris..zanuzi

TheBigYin said...

Thanks zan, I havn't sent off my cheque yet but will do once I've set up the appeal on this blog, most probably on the right hand side. This should be done by the end of the week.

Anonymous said...

Well if there was a flicked ash, then theres no way it was an electronic cigarette he was smoking. Electronic cigarettes don't even have a flame, and there's no ignition. Its just a heated coil that vaporizes the
E-cigarette Smoke Juice and creates the smoke like effect. I should know, I'm in the industry :)

Johnny Blaze

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