There has been a fair amount of comment in the blogosphere regarding the six month jail sentence given to Nick Hogan for flouting the ‘no-smoking ban’.
Outrage has been duly expressed, here, there, and everywhere. Perhaps we can do better than just express outrage?
Nick was actually jailed for non-payment of the fine originally imposed for a ‘mass smoke-in’ on the day the ban came into force in 2007 in his pub, the ‘Swan and Barristers’ in Bolton. He no longer has that pub. He was fined again when council inspectors walked into his present pub and discovered a group of customers smoking – Nick wasn’t even on the premises.
His wife, Denise, is now managing their present pub in Chorley herself. Their trade is so low that they don’t even bother to open the downstairs bar. Nick is bankrupt, and had gone to court intending to argue that he could not afford the £500 a month payments demanded by the council towards their £10,000 bill for prosecuting him. He has already paid off £1,600. The court gave him a six month sentence instead, and he is currently in Forest Bank prison in Pendlebury, unable to help to earn the money which would ensure his release.
Denise has not even been able to speak to him since he was sentenced. She has merely been told to phone the prison on Monday to enquire when she might see him. She is confused, frightened, and feeling very lonely.
Denise has just said to me ‘all the people who disagree with the ban – where are they now? – and my Nick is in prison’. Quite.
If all the people who disagree with the no-smoking ban contributed a few coppers, then Nick would be released. If you can’t afford £1, then at least drop Nick a line and let him know he is not forgotten – not surprisingly, he is feeling very depressed.
Denise has no idea how to use the Internet, she has no idea how many of us are against the no-smoking ban. Let’s show her.
£1 each – just 10,000 of you – let’s see if the blogosphere can do more than merely rant in unison. Once the amount received totals the outstanding fine, they have to release Nick.
Nick’s address is:
HMP & YOI Forest Bank
Update: Old Holborn has now kindly set up a Paypal donate function. Go HERE – right at the top of the right hand sidebar and you can contribute to Nick’s costs.