SELF-styled smokers' champion Stuart Smith has failed to impress a judge after he turned up for a magistrates court hearing on horseback dressed as St George.
The latest stunt was part of his headline-grabbing court battle over the Government’s anti-smoking legislation and an allegation that he allowed smokers to continue lighting up at the College Arms pub in Huddersfield town centre.
But after being shown the Examiner’s front page coverage last Wednesday of Smith riding a horse, Judge Peter Benson raised doubts about the 39-year-old’s claims that he couldn’t do his community service work because of back problems.
Smith was instructed to carry out the work or present medical evidence to the court to show as to why he could not.
In February Smith, of Newlands Farm, Warley, Halifax, was given a suspended six-month prison sentence and ordered to do 160 hours unpaid work for his part in a scam to ship the contents of a pub from Halifax to Cyprus.
Smith was back at Bradford Crown Court yesterday on the basis that he wanted to vary the unpaid work order, but after reading about his publicity stunt Judge Benson warned him that he could be jailed if he failed to do the work.
Barrister Michael Goldwater told the court that his client was due to undergo physiotherapy because of his sciatica, but Judge Benson stressed that he would not consider revoking the order unless he received “very persuasive” medical evidence from a specialist.
Mr Goldwater said it was hoped that his client could resume the work after the treatment which was expected to last eight weeks.
Smith’s horseback stunt took place last Tuesday and Judge Benson told him: “Basically everything that you say I view with great scepticism and a degree of caution.
“I know enough to know that people can readily learn the symptoms of back pain and describe them convincingly to sympathetic doctors who, as they must do, accept what their patients say at face value when they are giving a description of their symptoms.
“It is not going to work in the long run if you are swinging the lead here because I’m not going to discharge the order without very persuasive medical evidence and I can’t see that forthcoming myself.
“And if push comes to shove and you pursue this line and it does turn out you have been faking symptoms there would be grounds for revoking the order and sending you to prison.”
Prosecutor Ben Crosland said the Probation Service was also sceptical about Smith’s condition after seeing his picture in the paper adding: “There is Mr Smith arriving at Huddersfield Magistrates Court astride a horse.
“One is a little sceptical about his physical condition if he is able to get onto, ride and get off a horse.”
Mr Goldwater told the court that incident was a ‘photographic opportunity’ and Smith said he was helped on and off the horse.
Mr Goldwater said Smith was due to start the physiotherapy later this week and it was hoped that would bring his client considerable relief.