The miscarriage of justice watchdog has agreed to look again at the case of construction workers claiming to have been wrongly jailed following an industrial dispute in the 1970s.
Ten members of the Shrewsbury 24 had applied to the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer their 1973/74 convictions to the Court of Appeal. Six men were jailed, including the actor Ricky Tomlinson who got two years, having been charged under arcane legislation (Conspiracy Act 1875) for offences relating to intimidation and damage to property for picketing during the first nationwide industrial action by the building trade.
The CCRC rejected their application and the group challenged that refusal, as reported here. That challenge was heard yesterday and, during the judicial review hearing, the CCRC agreed to take another look.
- You can read an interview with Ricky Tomlinson by Nick Bano on the Justice Gap here
- More info: www.shrewsbury24campaign.org.uk
‘This is a magnificent success,’ commented Eileen Turnbull, secretary for the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. ‘We are one step nearer to achieving our goal of justice for the pickets. The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign has worked tirelessly over the past 13 years. Today’s result is a testament to all our hard work and the support from the labour movement.’
Their application was based a number of grounds, including recently discovered evidence that original witness statements had been destroyed and that this fact had not been disclosed to the defence counsel. They also argued that the broadcast of a documentary during the original trial, content was contributed by a covert agency within the Foreign Office known as the Information Research Department, was highly prejudicial.
‘The decision of the CCRC to withdraw their refusals to refer the convictions of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign is welcome,’ said Jamie Potter, a human rights partner at Bindmans LLP acting for the claimants. ‘As Lord Justice Flaux acknowledged during today’s hearing, there can be no question that evidence of witness statement destruction would, in 2019, have to be disclosed to the prosecution. It is essential that historic unjust convictions arising from such fundamental unfairness are now corrected and we hope that the CCRC will refer this matter to the Court of Appeal so these convictions can properly be considered.’