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A prisoner concerned about exposure to 'second-hand' smoke has lost a Supreme Court battle to make illicit lighting up in jails a criminal offence.
In a unanimous ruling on Tuesday, five justices at the UK's highest court concluded that a ban prohibiting smoking in most enclosed public places and workplaces does not apply to Crown premises, including state prisons.
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President Lady Hale announced that an appeal by convicted sex offender Paul Black, following his defeat at the Court of Appeal last year, was being dismissed 'with considerable reluctance'.
Black's solicitor, Sean Humber, head of the prison law team at Leigh Day, said the decision has 'far wider implications than simply the issue of smoking in prisons'.
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He added: 'It confirms that thousands of Government properties, including, for example, courts and Jobcentres, are not covered by the provisions of the Health Act prohibiting smoking in enclosed places.
'While many of these buildings even have signs saying it is against the law to smoke in them, these turn out to be incorrect.
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'In light of this, the Government must now take urgent action to change the law to properly protect the millions of people who work, live or visit these properties.'
Black, who is serving an indeterminate sentence at HMP Wymott in Lancashire, launched legal action complaining that prison smoking rules were being flouted and should be legally enforceable.
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Following the ruling, he said: 'Throughout this case, I simply wished non-smoking prisoners and prison staff to have the same level of protection from the risks of second-hand cigarette smoke as non-smokers living in the wider community.'
The case centred on the 2006 Health Act which places restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces, making it a criminal offence to smoke in an unauthorised place and also an offence for those in charge of the premises to turn a blind...
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