Court of Appeal will hear case of Shrewsbury 24 picketers

The Criminal Cases Review Commission has granted permission for the case of imprisoned trade unionists' to be heard by the Court of Appeal.

6 Mar 2020| News

Eight North Wales construction workers will now have the opportunity to have their cases reviewed after being prosecuted for trade union activity.

Des Warren, John McKinsie Jones, Ken O’Shea, Michael Pierce, Terry Renshaw, Kevin Butcher, Malcolm Clee and Bernard Williams were jailed or given suspended prison sentences in 1973-74, alongside 16 other trade unionists.

The group – which came to be known as the Shrewsbury 24 – faced charges including ‘unlawful assembly’, ‘conspiracy to intimidate’ and ‘affray’ after they joined a national building workers’ strike in Shreswbury in 1972.

Famously, the 24 included Royle Family actor Ricky Tomlinson, who was given a two-year prison sentence.

The prosecutions occurred after the strike was over, despite the fact that 80 police officers were present at the action and no arrests or cautions were made on the day.

An application was made to the Criminal Cases Review Commission eight years ago to have the case reviewed by the Court of Appeal. Unfortunately, several of of the Shrewsbury 24 have passed away before they got their chance to appeal for justice.

Terry Renshaw, one of the picketers, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the decision and look forward to our day in court to show we were victims of a miscarriage of justice.”

The successful application was made with the support of the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which Renshaw said were owed “a great debt of thanks” for their “tireless work”.

The Campaign will argue that evidence showing the police destroyed witness statements instead of making them available to defence lawyers, and the airing of ITV documentary Red Under the Bed prejudiced the trial.