Shrewsbury pickets’ case in Court of Appeal, 3-4 February 2021

We are delighted to confirm that the pickets appeal will be heard on 3 and 4 February 2021 at the Court of Appeal in the Royal Courts of Justice, London.

The Campaign represents twelve pickets including Des Warren, John McKinsie Jones, Ken O’Shea, Malcolm Clee, Michael Pierce, Terry Renshaw, Kevin Butcher, Bernard Williams, Alfred James, Roy Warburton, Graham Roberts and John Seaburg.

Two other pickets, Ricky Tomlinson and Arthur Murray, withdrew from the campaign and the legal case in 2017 when the Criminal Cases Review Commission turned down our application. The remaining original eight pickets never gave up. With the support of the Campaign and trade unions we successfully challenged the CCRC in a judicial review in April 2019. The CCRC reviewed the case and finally, in March 2020, referred the eight pickets’ convictions to the Court of Appeal. Our success won the right for all the remaining convicted pickets to apply to the CCRC to be added to our case. The families of four further pickets asked the Campaign to support them and we were delighted to submit their applications, which were accepted.

On the back of our success the two who withdrew from the case in 2017, Ricky Tomlinson and Arthur Murray, were able to reapply to the CCRC and had their case referred in May 2020. They have chosen not to re-join their fellow pickets and are represented separately in the court, though their lawyers base their case on the Campaign’s evidence.

The appeal has two grounds based, upon evidence discovered in the National Archives by the Campaign’s Secretary and Researcher, Eileen Turnbull:

(i) original witness statements had been destroyed by the police and this fact had not been disclosed to the defence counsel or the court; and
(ii) 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.

Terry Renshaw, a convicted picket who has campaigned tirelessly for over 40 years, 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.”

The Campaign’s Chairperson, Harry Chadwick, took part in the strike in 1972, picketing building sites in the North West. A retired carpenter and longstanding member of UCATT/Unite, he paid tribute to the support that the campaign has had from the labour movement,

“We have had tremendous support from all the trade unions, the TUC and the Labour Party. We will never forget the warm welcome and solidarity shown to us at the events that we have travelled to during the past 15 years. On behalf of the pickets and campaign, a heartfelt thank you.”