Psychiatric unit’s smoking ban unlawful

| August 29, 2013

A patient at the StateHospital at Carstairs, Scotland, has won a court ruling that a ban on his smoking at the facility was unlawful and was a breach of his rights, according to a BBC Online story.

The man, who has been detained at the high-security psychiatric hospital for 18 years, challenged the ban, which was introduced in December 2011, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Judge Lord Stewart said the decision to compel the man “to stop smoking was flawed in every possible way”.

He said he wanted to make it clear that he was not endorsing the idea of a human right to smoke, because there was no right to smoke in a legal sense. But he said he was prepared to make a restricted declaration that the policy was unlawful as it affected the patient, and that it was a breach of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Scotland does not have legislation in place that bans smoking in such hospitals and the judge said that if the legislature would not support a measure it was wrong to enforce it by extra-statutory means. “It may be of course, given the experience at the StateHospital, that the time is now right to try and put the ban on a statutory footing,” he added.

The judge said he had decided it would be wrong to strike down the board’s decision to go smoke-free and that the orders he would make would allow the patient’s case to be reconsidered by the hospital authorities.

Category: Breaking News

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