Picket calling on Labour Home Secretary Roy Jenkins to free the pickets, Shrewsbury, November 1975. © Morning Star 2011.
The trial of Des Warren, Eric Tomlinson and John McKinsie Jones ended on 19th December 1973. They each submitted appeals against conviction and sentence in January 1974. They also made applications for bail pending appeal.
The Court refused the bail applications. The Court of Appeal then examined the case and distinguished two main grounds of appeal:
- points of law or specific criticisms of the Judge’s directions in the summing up which could be dealt with at once, with a minimum of transcribed evidence, and
- arguments involving a wide ranging inquiry into the conduct of the trial day-by-day and which could not be embarked upon by the Court of Appeal without the benefit of the substantial transcribing of the shorthand note of evidence at the Shrewsbury trial.
The Court of Appeal decided to deal with arguments on the issues that could be dealt with at once. On 4th March 1974 the Court gave its judgement as follows:
“that no ground was raised which would justify the quashing of these convictions in those matters which could be tried immediately, except on Count 3, that of affray”.
The convictions for affray were therefore quashed.
The appeal hearing was then adjourned to deal with the second category of issues once the transcripts of the required evidence could be obtained. A further bail application was again refused at this stage.
By June 1974 it became apparent that there was a vast amount of evidence that needed to be transcribed and it would take up to 12 weeks to complete the task. A third bail application was submitted and was granted. Des Warren and Eric (Ricky) Tomlinson were released pending appeal.
Eric Heffer MP speaking to a lobby of Parliament, November 1974. © Morning Star 2011.
On 29th October 1974 the Court of Appeal finally heard the appeals against the convictions for conspiracy to intimidate. The appeals were dismissed and the court reaffirmed that deterrent sentences were necessary. Des and Ricky were returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.
On 3rd December the Court of Appeal considered further applications for leave to appeal to the House of Lords but refused to certify that there was a point of law of general public importance.