Labour Research (May 2012)

Union news

Appeal launched over ‘political’ trial

Leaders of the “Shrewsbury Pickets” — the 24 striking building workers convicted in the 1970s under the 1875 Conspiracy Act — are seeking to have the convictions overturned.

They are arguing that the Tory government of the time interfered with the judicial process in a manner that was political and constituted an abuse of power.

The pickets’ trial came in the wake of the first ever national building workers’ strike in 1972 called by the T&G and UCATT unions.

Six of them were jailed. The longest sentences were handed down to Ricky Tomlinson (who later became a successful actor), who got two years, and Des Warren, who was sentenced to three years. Warren died in 2004.

The Shrewsbury Pickets Campaign, led by Tomlinson, another picket Terry Renshaw and Des Warren’s son Andy, last month submitted their case to the Criminal Case Review Commission.

The application, prepared by Bindmans solicitors, is based on detailed research, including information from the Labour Research Department. It claims to show that the government interfered with the judicial process by encouraging the prosecutions to deter effective picketing.

Renshaw said: “I believe we will finally see justice and prove that this was a political trial.”

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