An pub landlord who is thought to be the first person jailed after flouting the smoking ban in England was described as “devastated” by his wife today.
Nick Hogan (aged 43) from Chorley, Lancashire, was sentenced to six months in prison for failing to pay fines resulting from smoking ban breaches at his two premises.
Hogan, a smoker, was originally fined £3,000 (€3,360) and ordered to pay £7,136 (€7,991) in costs when he was found guilty of breaching the smoking ban.
The hearing, in January 2008, was told that on the day the ban came into force he organised a “mass light-up” in his two pubs, The Swan and Barristers, both in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
His wife Denise, 53, also a publican, said that following the conviction he lost his job and was unable to keep up with the £125 (€140)-a-week fine payments.
He was jailed for six months yesterday by magistrates in Bolton.
Mrs Hogan said today the sentence was unfair.
She said: “He’s not a smoking campaigner or anything like that.
“He didn’t want to change the law, he just thought if people wanted to smoke it should be their choice.
“When he lost his job the fine repayments were too much for him and he couldn’t pay it.
“We never expected him to go to jail. He hasn’t harmed anybody and he isn’t a criminal.
“He was allowed to ring me from jail last night but we could only speak for just two minutes. He is devastated.
“People have been very kind and I have had hundreds of messages of support. I’m still in shock. I just want him home.”