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HomeLive StreamShrewsbury 24 ruling overturns ‘major miscarriage of justice’ nearly 50 years on

Shrewsbury 24 ruling overturns ‘major miscarriage of justice’ nearly 50 years on

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Members of the Shrewsbury 24 have hailed the reversal of “a major miscarriage of justice” as they finally cleared their names almost 50 years after they were convicted for picketing.

Two dozen trade unionists who picketed during the 1972 national builders’ strike were charged with offences including unlawful assembly, conspiracy to intimidate and affray for picketing.

The pickets were striking for better wages and health and safety, at a time when many workers were injured or killed on building sites.

Twenty-two of them were convicted across three trials in 1973 and 1974 and six were jailed, while two were acquitted.

Lawyers representing 14 of the Shrewsbury 24, including The Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson – who was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment – challenged their convictions at the Court of Appeal last month.

Six of the 14, including Des Warren, who was jailed for three years, have since died and their appeals were continued in their name by their relatives.

Actor Ricky Tomlinson / PA Archive

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of all 14 on the grounds that original witness statements had been destroyed.

In a statement after the ruling, Mr Tomlinson said: “Whilst it is only right that these convictions are overturned, it is a sorry day for British justice.

“The reality is we should never have been standing in the dock.

“We were brought to trial at the apparent behest of the building industry bosses, the Conservative government and ably supported by the secret state.

“This was a political trial not just of me and the Shrewsbury pickets, but was a trial of the trade union movement.

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