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Ricky Tomlinson to begin legal challenge against 50-years injustice visited on the Shrewsbury pickets

ACTOR and former building worker Ricky Tomlinson will appear in court this week to challenge the injustice visited on the Shrewsbury pickets almost 50 years ago.

Mr Tomlinson, from Liverpool, is one of the “Shrewsbury 24” workers who were unjustly convicted of offences relating to the 1972 nationwide strike on construction sites.

He will be appearing in the Court of Appeal in London on Wednesday alongside his friend Arthur Murray, who was also convicted. They will be represented by the Public Interest Law Centre.

Others of the 24 will be represented by the Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, which was launched in 2006.

The appeals are based on new evidence that statements were destroyed and legal arguments about a highly biased TV documentary, Red Under the Bed, which was screened by ITV in during the trial.

In 1973, Mr Tomlinson, along with Des Warren, was sentenced to prison for unlawful assembly, conspiracy to intimidate, and affray.

The cases of the other pickets, including the six who have died — Alfred James, Samuel Roy Warburton, Graham Roberts, John Kenneth Seaburg, Kenneth O’Shea and Warren — will be also be heard in this week’s hearing.

Mr Tomlinson said: “It will have taken nearly 50 years for us to have our day in court and for the truth to come out. 

“People will be shocked to know the lengths the Establishment went to in order to punish the working class for trying to improve their working and health and safety conditions.

“The building sites were, at the time, known as the Killing Fields. 

“Years after my release I was surprised and shocked to receive a handwritten letter from Maurice Drake QC, the prosecuting counsel, saying he had followed my career and would rather have had a pint with me than send me to jail.

“We now have evidence of political interference during the trial that I think will concern the general public who believe in our justice system.”

Labour MP John McDonnell said: “This is an appalling miscarriage of justice that must be addressed and the truth of this fit-up of trade unionists exposed. 

“The time for truth is decades overdue.”

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