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Friday, November 05, 2010

Cannabis and bubbly vid to celebrate prisoner votes was ex-con's 'bit of fun'

Cannabis and bubbly vid to celebrate prisoner votes was ex-con's 'bit of fun'

A CONVICTED killer who caused outrage toasting prisoners' right to vote with cannabis and champagne has claimed he was having "a bit of fun".

The video, which was posted on YouTube, shows John Hirst smoking what he claims is a joint of cannabis – a class B drug.

He tells the camera that the decision to give prisoners the vote is a victory for "murderers, paedophiles and rapists".

The video has been shown on news channels across the world and has been met with a furious response from MPs and users of the Mail's website.

However, Mr Hirst, of Beverley Road, Hull, told the Mail: "The video was a wind-up. I did it for a bit of fun.

"If people want to over-react about it, that's their problem."

As previously reported, Mr Hirst, 59, took the Government to the European Court of Human Rights while serving 24 years in prison for manslaughter.

The court ruled in his favour and concluded a blanket ban on voting breached prisoners' human rights.

John Hirst celebrates in a video posted on YouTube

Earlier this week, David Cameron conceded there was nothing he could do to halt the court ruling.

Mr Hirst, who admitted killing his landlady with an axe in 1975, posted the video in the early hours of Tuesday morning after learning of Mr Cameron's decision.

He admitted to the Mail that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he made it.

"I don't see anything wrong with smoking a joint," he said.

"My probation officer knows I smoke dope. I am not worried about being recalled to prison.

"I am quite happy with the video. I don't care what people say about it – I am laughing.

"It shows how sad people are, making a big deal about it. I feel no remorse."

Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy told the Mail he was "outraged" by the video.

"I am absolutely disgusted and outraged by this and the decision to give prisoners the vote.

"Allowing criminals to vote is totally and utterly unacceptable."

One user of the Mail's website, who did not give their name, posted: "It is astounding that a man such as this, who on one level did a positive thing whilst in prison which was to better himself by learning the law (all be it at the tax payers' expense) is given the public voice he has been allowed, in order to do such a negative thing.

"Yet again, this potentially great city of Kingston Upon Hull has been shown in a bad light due to the actions of a despicable human being."

Antony, of west Hull, posted: "I personally think that prisoners should have nothing more than very basic human rights. They have in many cases contravened others rights and taken away peoples lives.

"Voting is a privilege, not a right."

A spokesperson for Humberside Police said they were aware of the video.

However, the Mail understands that officers will not be investigating it.

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