Lawyer defends smoking ban in prisons
Tue, 07 Aug 2012 3:27p.m.
By Michael Morrah
A lawyer representing Auckland Prison has rejected suggestions that banning inmates from smoking is unlawful or unfair.
Maximum security inmate Arthur Taylor, who has a string of convictions for armed robbery, kidnapping and escaping custody, has brought a civil case against Auckland Prison's manager in an attempt to have the ban ruled invalid.
The High Court in Auckland heard the case today, which centres around the interpretation of Section 6a of the Smoke-free Environment Act.
Taylor claims part of the act preserves the freedom of inmates to smoke and prison managers don't have the power to take that away.
But a lawyer representing Auckland Prison, Austin Powell, says Section 6a assumes there may be smoking in prison cells, but doesn't give inmates a right to do it.
He also disputed claims that some prisoners haven't been assisted when the smoking ban came into effect in July last year.
He says inmates had 12 months warning, access to stop smoking books, Quitline, nicotine patches and were given sticks of carrot with their breakfast as an alternative to tobacco.
Taylor told the High Court a prison cell is like an inmate's home. He says as most of the New Zealand population can smoke in their home if they choose to, inmates should also be allowed to.
Mr Powell says the two can't be compared as prison is an institution under the direction and control of those who manage it, and when you are imprisoned you lose certain freedoms.
Counsel assisting the court, Gillian Coumbe, says the case is not about whether the policy banning smoking is a good one, or whether smoking is a foolish activity or about whether the court approves of smoking.
She says the case is about the lawfulness of what has been done and it's a case that "does warrant quite close scrutiny".
The case continues before Justice Murray Gilbert.
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18/08/2012 10:48:22 p.m.
i have the right to clean air to breath over the smokers right to smoke. I win hands down. tough #$%^ for the smoker
16/08/2012 11:54:35 a.m.
Go for it Arthur Taylor! Even though criminals DO lose certain freedoms, I do not think having the choice to smoke should be one of them. We are being FORCED to give smoking up. FORCED. That is a breach of our Human Rights. How will NZ feel if the Govt FORCED them to not drink alcohol? Because alcohol causes just as many health problems and FAR MORE DEATHS each year and yet is not, YET, being targeted. And the only reason it is not yet targeted? Because the hypocrites in Govt like to drink. HYPOCRITES. And never, ever forget that once they force people to stop smoking, they will get all that tax money that is generated from somewhere else...the Govt will NOT make do without it. AND, that smoking generated tax money, whilst the cost of smoking is continuously touted as the reason for the increased prices, does NOT go in to the Health System to cover those costs...so where does the money go???? The NZ public are, once again, being ripped off with a cover story to draw people's attention away from what is really going on.
8/08/2012 9:17:47 p.m.
An Emergency Hospital Siren needs for the injuries and the suicides that would cost more of the tax payers money..The above mentioned will be a hardship on a normal human functioning will end up in a mental institute..A blanket and a concrete floor would had been better and a prisoner should be allowed to smoke tobbacco once a month until released from cell therefore all sentencing should be at the minimum..
7/08/2012 6:39:24 p.m.
Thats right. These people forget that they have committed crimes and probably hurt alot of people, PRISON is prison. Not a holiday home. They are there to be punished for crimes theve committed. If you ask me they should get hard labour...
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