The first of the trials of North Wales building workers was held at Mold Crown Court, beginning on 27th June 1973. Des Warren recalled them:
These were of great importance and a dress rehearsal for Shrewsbury. What they meant was described to me by one solicitor: ‘Like a West End impresario, the Director of Public Prosecutions used the Mold trials to cross out the faults in the production, prior to the Shrewsbury run’.
The Key to My Cell p.33
The Mold trials resulted in only minor charges being upheld by the jury, resulting in small fines ranging from £5 to £50. A second trial at Mold commenced on 18 July 1973 and all three defendants were found not guilty.
Before each Mold trial started the pickets’ defence lawyers exercised the right to challenge potential jurors. One of the features that they considered was the occupation of a potential juror, which was listed alongside the juror’s name. The defence team were looking specifically for the presence of building contractors or people connected with the building industry. As a result they succeeded in excluding a number of prospective jurors who might have been hostile to trade unions and sympathetic to the building employers.
Building workers' protest before the start of trials, June 12th 1973. © Morning Star 2011
Seven of the pickets tried at Mold Crown Court were to appear again at the later trials at Shrewsbury.
The Judge at the Mold trials was Judge Chetwynd-Talbot. He was to sit on two further trials at Shrewsbury.
The Crown prosecutor at Mold was Maurice Drake QC. He and his team were to go on to prosecute the 24 pickets in the three trials at Shrewsbury. As Des Warren noted, the prosecutors had used the Mold trials as a dress rehearsal for the main production. They were determined to use the lessons that they had learned from the Mold trials to ensure that they obtained convictions of all the pickets at Shrewsbury.
Shrewsbury London march February 1st 1974. © Morning Star 2011.