Shrewsbury 24: Further picket has convictions quashed

Yesterday, The Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of another of the Shrewsbury 24 pickets.

(Thomas) Brian Williams was one of six pickets* who were imprisoned following their wrongful convictions relating to the 1972 National Building Workers’ Strike.

The Shrewsbury 24 had picketed building sites in the Shrewsbury and Telford area, as part of a campaign to improve wages, abolish “the Lump” labour scheme and institute health and safety measures to bring down high mortality rates on sites.

Despite there being no arrests on the day of the picketing, the 24 were prosecuted following intervention from the National Federation of Building Trades Employers.

Officers from West Mercia Police destroyed original witness statements prior to the three Shrewsbury trials (in 1973 and 1974), and Prosecution lawyers who knew of the destruction, both failed to disclose the fact of that destruction to the Defendants and led the judge and jury to believe that full disclosure had been made.

Mr Williams pleaded not guilty in the second of the Shrewsbury trials, was convicted of Affray and unlawful assembly and served six months in custody.

Sadly, Mr. Williams passed away in 2013, aged 74, unaware of the police and prosecution conduct.  His appeal was brought, on his behalf, by his daughter in law, Samantha, following a referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

In the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Holroyde ruled that Mr Williams “could not and did not have a fair trial”.

Mr Williams was represented by Piers Marquis, instructed by Paul Heron (of the Public Interest Law Centre).

*along with Dennis Warren, Ricky Tomlinson, Arthur Murray, John McKinsie Jones and Michael Pierce.