The (Glasgow) Herald has this exclusive story: Passive smoking ‘victims’ to challenge prison service.
Prisoners forced to share their cells with smokers have lodged compensation claims against the Scottish Prison Service.
Tony Kelly, the lawyer for Adelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, has, in the past, brought a number of successful cases on behalf of prisoners over issues such as slopping out.
He told The Herald that he was now pursuing cases on behalf of about half-a-dozen Scottish prisoners or former inmates who were non-smokers but had been exposed to tobacco smoke through being required to share a cell with smokers.
The cases were already live, he said, and the first of these would come to court within a matter of months.
I accept that if you are a non-smoker it might not be very nice to be stuck in a small cell with others who are smoking, but a direct cause of ill health?
One would expect the former inmates, at least, to have to prove that their health has suffered as a result of sharing a cell with smokers. Yes, there have been out-of-court settlements (a cheaper option for employers than going to court, even if they win), but I am not aware of a single case in the UK where someone has proved successfully in court that their illness was caused by other people's tobacco smoke.
For that reason alone this could be interesting. On the hand, it wouldn't surprise me if the Scottish Government chose not to fight the issue and agreed instead to burden the taxpayer with the cost of compensation. After all, to do otherwise would defeat their argument that passive smoking is a serious health risk, wouldn't it?
Update: Brian Monteith, who brought the story to my attention, writes: "I think this will run and run. It is of course a direct consequence of governments lazily accepting junk science to justify their control freakery. Now they will have to pay for the mistake - only we pick up the tab in the long run."