PUB smoking crusader Stuart Smith claims he will attend court on horseback dressed as St George to fight “ridiculous” charges.
Smith told Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court yesterday that he would carry out the stunt when he returns to face trial for allegedly allowing people to smoke in the College Arms pub.
The 39-year-old is being prosecuted after a raid on the pub by police and licensing officials on January 16.
As well as facing the charge of allowing people to smoke, he is also accused of failing to put up ‘no smoking’ signs.
He was in court yesterday for a plea and case management hearing.
The full case will be heard on May 13 – despite Smith’s attempts to have the trial fixed for April 23, St George’s Day.
Smith has openly said he is in favour of people having the “freedom of choice” to smoke in pubs.
And yesterday he did not deny people were smoking in the College Arms, on Queensgate.
But he told District Judge Jonathan Bennett: “I can prove beyond doubt I was a trespasser on those premises and had no authority to allow or disallow people smoking.
“I had no right to be there whatsoever. This is the most ridiculous charge I have ever been involved in.”
Geoff Bell, for Kirklees Council, said the prosecution case would argue Mr Smith was in charge of the College Arms on January 16.
He said: “Mr Smith wasn’t the licensee – his son was – but he was the person clearly occupying or concerned with the management of the premises.”
He said Mr Smith had gone to the media to advertise the fact he was running the pub and inviting people to go in and smoke.
But Mr Smith claimed there was no case for him to answer, and added: “I will be coming to court on a horse in a St George costume.”