The Court of Appeal has quashed the convictions of the North Wales building workers who were prosecuted for picketing during the 1972 national building workers strike. Six received prison sentences and sixteen received suspended prison sentences. They had always maintained their innocence of all charges.
The Shrewsbury 24 Campaign was launched in 2006 and the appeal hearing began in February this year after the campaign was able to persuade the Criminal Cases Review Commission to refer the cases to the Court of Appeal. It did so on two grounds based upon evidence discovered in the National Archives by the campaign’s secretary and researcher, Eileen Turnbull:
original witness statements had been destroyed by the police and this fact had not been disclosed to the defence counsel or the court; and
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.
SoR President Chris Kalinka said the SoR had been proud to support the campaign for the Shrewsbury pickets to achieve justice.
‘It is a long time since these building workers were unfairly prosecuted and convicted simply for standing up for fair treatment and rights. The fact that it has taken so long for justice to be achieved is a sad indictment that fair treatment at work still does not receive the priority that it should.
‘The tenacity and determination of the Shrewsbury 24 campaigners are an inspiration to everyone that recognises that good working conditions are worth defending. The SoR recognises that union membership and activity go hand in hand with a professional drive for improved healthcare for all.’
Campaign chairperson Harry Chadwick had paid tribute before the hearing to the support of trade unions: 'We have had tremendous support from the Society of Radiographers. 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'.