Shrewsbury Pickets Win At CCRC

Shrewsbury Pickets Win At CCRC

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has today finally agreed to refer the convictions of the Shrewsbury pickets to the Court of Appeal. Eight of the North Wales building workers who were jailed or received suspended prison sentences in 1973-74, will now get the chance to show that they suffered a miscarriage of justice. They are Des Warren, John McKinsie Jones, Ken O’Shea, Michael Pierce, Terry Renshaw, Kevin Butcher, Malcolm Clee and Bernard Williams.

The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign has worked tirelessly since 2006 to publicise the case and gain support from trade unions and the Labour Party. The Campaign’s Researcher and Secretary, Eileen Turnbull, travelled throughout the UK to find the fresh evidence necessary to persuade the CCRC to refer the case to the appeal court. The documents that Turnbull unearthed now form the basis for the appeal.

Terry Renshaw, speaking on behalf of the pickets, said, “We are absolutely delighted with the decision and look forward to 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.”

The CCRC have accepted that the fresh evidence that we have submitted should be considered by the Court of Appeal:

Firstly, the police destroyed witness statements that they had taken at the start of their inquiries. These should have been given to the pickets’ lawyers even if the police did not want to use them.

Secondly, the fairness of the trial was prejudiced by an ITV documentary Red Under the Bed that was televised on the evening that the prosecution case finished. It showed footage of a police cordon outside Shrewsbury Crown Court during the trials and of the accused pickets leading a protest march through the town.

The pickets delivered their applications to the CCRC’s Birmingham headquarters nearly eight years ago, in April 2012. Since that time one of the applicants, Ken O’Shea, had passed away. Des Warren, who was blacklisted and never worked again after his release from prison in 1976, died prematurely in 2004. His son, Nick, has continued his dad’s long struggle to clear his name.

These eight pickets were determined to see justice done and were unbowed when the CCRC turned down their case in 2017. Four of them, Warren, Jones, Pierce and Renshaw, took judicial review proceedings and the CCRC caved in at court in April 2019. Today’s decision is a tribute to the pickets’ determination and to the support that we have received from the trade union and labour movement.

The CCRC’s press release is here.

A press release from Bindmans is here.