A judge who will help decide if a case against the big tobacco companies should be heard in court has resigned from the case after the lawyer representing the plaintiffs said he was biased.
Jan Wolter Wabeke has asked to be removed from the case after it emerged he had told friends at a dinner party that ‘smoking is the responsibility of the individual’.
The case, brought by lawyer Benedicte Ficq, states that tobacco companies have conspired to get people addicted to cigarettes and accuses the firms of attempted murder.
As an appeal court judge, Wabeke would have had to rule on Ficq’s attempt to get the case heard in court, even though the public prosecution department has refused to support it.
In February, the department said it would not proceed with the criminal case against the big tobacco companies, arguing that tobacco products are legal and smokers themselves have the choice whether or not to accept the health risks.
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