Shrewsbury 24 win bid for court hearing
A group of Shrewsbury pickets have won an important victory in their long struggle to overturn convictions dating back to the 1970s.
In the Administrative Court in Birmingham, Mr Justice Jay gave permission for the Shrewsbury 24’s application for judicial review to proceed to a full hearing.
A spokesman for the Shrewsbury 24, which includes former Brookside and Royle Family star Ricky Tomlinson, said: "The Criminal Cases Review Commission 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 before a different judge, Mr Justice Jay.
"The judge, after listening to the submissions of the pickets’ counsel 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; and 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.”
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 12 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.”
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