The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which is seeking justice for North Wales building workers prosecuted for picketing during the 1972 national building workers’ strike, takes a potentially significant step next month when the Court of Appeal will be asked to overturn their convictions.
The campaign, backed by PCS, is seeking justice for 24 trade unionists arrested and charged after the first national building workers' strike in 1972.
On 3 and 4 February, the Court of Appeal will hear the appeal of the workers who were prosecuted for picketing. Six received prison sentences and 16 received suspended prison sentences. They have always maintained their innocence.
The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign was launched in 2006 to overturn this miscarriage of justice. The campaign represents 12 pickets, including Dennis Warren (deceased), John McKinsie Jones, Kenneth O’Shea (deceased), John Clee, William Pierce, Terence Renshaw, Patrick Kevin Butcher, Bernard Williams, Alfred James (deceased), Samuel Roy Warburton (deceased), Graham Roberts (deceased) and John Kenneth Seaburg (deceased).
The appeal has come about after the campaign was able to persuade the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the cases to the Court of Appeal. It has done so on two grounds based upon evidence discovered in the National Archives by the campaign’s secretary and researcher, Eileen Turnbull:
- Original witness statements had been destroyed by the police and this fact had not been disclosed to the defence counsel or the court; and
- The broadcast of a highly prejudicial documentary on ITV during the first trial, Red under the Bed, the content of which was contributed to by a covert agency within the Foreign Office known as the Information Research Department.
The campaign’s chair, Harry Chadwick, paid tribute to the support of trade unions: “We have had tremendous support from PCS branches, big and small, from all over the country. We will never forget the warm welcome and solidarity shown to us at the many events that we have travelled to during the past 15 years. On behalf of the pickets and campaign, a heartfelt thank you.”
Terry Renshaw, speaking on behalf of the pickets, said: “We are looking forward to finally having our day in court to show that we were victims of a miscarriage of justice. Without the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign we would not be where we are today. We owe a great debt of thanks to them for the tireless work that they have carried out.”