March 15, 2014
Rapist Solomon Smith claimed his human rights had been violated after he was forced to share a cell with a smoker for a week. He argued it breached his privacy and damaged his health and took his case to court.
But he didn’t care about the rights or wellbeing of the woman he raped or another victim he indecently assaulted in a city park. The 52-year-old used taxpayers’ cash to try and claim compensation from the Government. But judges rejected Smith’s bid after telling him: “We are not impressed.”…
RAPIST Solomon Smith has seen his publicly-funded bid for a cigarette ban behind bars extinguished by top judges.
The High Court had already rejected 52-year-old Smith’s taxpayer-funded bid for compensation.
But Smith, went on to use more taxpayers’ cash to take his case to the Court of Appeal.
Now that case also has been rejected during a hearing yesterday.
Smith, formerly of Boundary Road, Hanley, is still behind bars after raping a prostitute in an alleyway near Glendale Street, Cobridge, in December 2000, and then indecently assaulting a second call girl in an Etruria car park. Smith was also convicted of intimidating his two victims.
But Smith launched his legal claim against the Ministry of Justice and prison operator G4S after being forced to share a cell with a smoking prisoner at Birmingham Prison in March 2012. He claimed the second-hand smoke was an ‘unjustified interference’ with his human rights.
Smith’s barrister Hugh Southey QC told the Court of Appeal yesterday: “Prisoners are not in the position where they have some freedom of choice about how to protect their health.
“If I feel strongly about smoking, I can take steps to avoid it. What this case demonstrates is that prisoners are not necessarily in that position.”
The court heard that smoking is still allowed in the UK’s prisons despite a national smoking ban in public places being in force for six years. It was claimed that prisons operate different smoking policies.
The court heard Smith was forced to share a cell with a smoker after being moved to another part of the prison because he and other sex offenders were being bullied.
G4S official Scott Matthewson told the court: “This was unfortunate but could not be avoided, given the practical and safety considerations.
“There were limited cells available in the prison, which was overcrowded. In order to protect Smith from abusive or violent conduct from other prisoners, for a short time he had to share a cell with a vulnerable prisoner who was a smoker.”
The Ministry of Justic argued that Smith’s accommodation was an operational decision for the prison.
It added that the ‘temporary exposure to second-hand smoke did not amount to an interference with the right to a private life’.
The Court of Appeal judges will produce written reasons for their decision at a later date. They said: “We do not think this appeal gets off the ground. We are not impressed.”
Gill Brown, chief executive of Brighter Futures, a charity that helps vulnerable people in North Staffordshire, including prostitutes, said: “This man committed horrendous crimes, and I for one am very glad that we’ve managed to convict him. But anyone who feels their human rights have been infringed should have their case heard in court.”