Clive Holgate said he would celebrate his freedom in the bath. The former building surveyor was released yesterday from seven months in prison after an Appeal Court quashed his corruption conviction. Correctional Services Department officers hovered disapprovingly as he refused to go through the cells on his way to freedom. 'I don't want to go back in there,' he said as the officers waved him towards the barred door to reclaim his belongings. He left the Supreme Court building for a celebratory lunch at the Ritz-Carlton with lawyers Alexander King and Kevin Steele. Mr Holgate said he planned to soak up his new-found freedom at home in a hot bath. He said he was also looking forward to being reunited with his teenage son. 'The past few years since the disappearance of my wife have been a terrible time of stress for myself and my son Michael,' he said in a statement. 'Being sent to prison when I have never committed any crime is a terrible ordeal and I am pleased that that horrible experience is now over.' Mr Holgate lost weight in jail. For the first month, prison authorities withheld his reading glasses so he was unable to enjoy his beloved crossword puzzles. He blames District Court Judge Surman for his ordeal. The Appeal Court yesterday concluded that Judge Surman had improperly handled the legal problems posed by the absence of Mr Holgate's wife, Pauline Sham Po-lin, who vanished in 1992. The police file on her disappearance remains open but a spokesman conceded investigators had stopped actively seeking information.