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READERS of the Morning Star will recall that on March 4 2020 the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign finally received the news that the convictions of eight pickets were to be referred to the Court of Appeal.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission invited applications from any of the remaining pickets.
We submitted four further applications and are pleased to announce that the CCRC has now referred their convictions to the appeal court as well. This is fantastic news and a great achievement for the trade union movement.
From the beginning of the campaign we had tried to involve all the convicted pickets but many did not want to make an application because of the demonisation that they had experienced in 1973-74 which led many to being blacklisted.
The families of four deceased pickets, Alfred James, Samuel Roy Warburton, Graham Roberts and John Kenneth Seaburg, asked us to have their names cleared.
The campaign’s solicitors, Bindmans, submitted applications on their behalf and these have now been accepted by the CCRC and join the other eight.
The campaign now represents 12 of the 22 convicted pickets (two were acquitted in 1974): Des Warren, John McKinsie Jones and Ken O’Shea (Trial 1); Malcolm Clee, Alfred James, Michael Pierce and Samuel Warburton (Trial 2); Kevin Butcher, Terry Renshaw, Graham Roberts, John Kenneth Seaburg and Thomas Bernard Williams (Trial 3).
When the CCRC rejected our applications in October 2017, Ricky Tomlinson and one other picket decided not to continue with the case.
At a meeting of the pickets at the time, he said that he had no faith in the legal system.
We tried to change his mind but he was adamant. The remaining eight of us, with the support of the trade union movement, challenged the CCRC through a judicial review.
At the hearing in April 2019 we were successful. We then asked the two to get involved again but they declined. Since our success in March they have changed their minds and now applied to the CCRC independently of the campaign. Their cases will now also be included in the referral.
Sadly, I will not be able to meet friends and comrades in Durham and other labour movement events this summer. So I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the trade unions, Labour Party members and MPs who have supported us through thick and thin over the years.
Myself and all the other pickets would also like to thank readers of the Morning Star for your unwavering support.
Without your support we could never have achieved this success in having our convictions from 46 years ago referred back to the Court of Appeal. We are confident of final victory, when we overturn this miscarriage of justice.
For more details about the campaign please see our website www.shrewsbury24campaign.org.uk.
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