Court gives green light for pickets to challenge CCRC

On Friday 9th November 2018 the Shrewsbury pickets won an important victory in their long struggle to overturn their convictions. In the Administrative Court in Birmingham, Mr Justice Jay gave permission for the pickets’ application for judicial review to proceed to a full hearing.

Commentary icon7 Dec 2018|Comment

Eileen Turnbull
Eileen Turnbull

Researcher and Secretary, Shrewsbury 24 Campaign

The CCRC opposed our application for Judicial Review and a single judge reviewed the papers in March and decided not to give permission for our application to go forwards to a full court hearing. This was a tremendous setback to us, and not one that had been anticipated due to the strength of our case. We were determined not to give up. With the support of trade unions we raised funds to challenge this decision at an oral hearing in open court. That application was heard in Birmingham on Friday 9th November before a different judge, Mr Justice Jay.

The judge, after listening to the submissions of the pickets’ counsel, Danny Friedman QC, granted permission for the case to proceed to a full judicial review hearing. This is excellent news. The full merits hearing of the judicial review application will be listed for two days and is likely to be heard in late spring 2019 before two judges.

The two grounds of the application that the judges will consider are:

that the destruction of original witness statements by the police, which was concealed from the defence and court by the prosecution, amounted to an abuse of process;

the broadcasting of the Red under the Bed documentary by ITV halfway through the trial was highly prejudicial to the pickets and should have led to the halting of the trial.

It is the first time that the case of the Shrewsbury pickets has been before a court since 1974 and the first time that they have achieved a success. Campaign Secretary and Researcher, Eileen Turnbull said, “Our case should have been referred back to the Court of Appeal at least three years ago. The CCRC has dragged its feet for over five years and then failed to apply the relevant law to the fresh evidence that we provided. We look forward to the full hearing in the spring as we are confident that we will succeed.”

The pickets are particularly incensed at the attitude of the CCRC not to refer the pickets’ convictions back to the Court of Appeal when its outgoing Chairperson, Richard Foster, said in his farewell speech in October 2018, “I drew attention 5 years ago in my 2012/13 annual report to disclosure failures as the continuing biggest single cause of miscarriages of justice. I repeated those concerns in subsequent Annual Reports.”

Terry Renshaw, speaking on behalf of the pickets, welcomed the decision, “It is a momentous victory for the Campaign. When we left the court we were delighted with the decision and felt a great sense of achievement after campaigning for the past twelve years to overturn this miscarriage of justice. We are nearly there.”

Campaign Chairperson Harry Chadwick appealed for continuing support, “I want to thank our trade union and Labour Party supporters for the unwavering backing that they have given to us as we would not have got this far without it. The fight is not over yet. We need your continued support to raise funds for the forthcoming hearing. We ask branches, trades councils and CLPs to affiliate to us for 2019 and donate to our legal fund.”

The fight goes on for justice for the pickets.

Originally published by the Shrewsbury 24 campaign

Eileen Turnbull

Eileen Turnbull

Eileen Turnbull is the Researcher and Secretary of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign. Eileen has carried out extensive research over ten... Read more »