BUILDING workers who claim they were wrongly convicted after strike action are renewing the fight to clear their names – almost 40 years after their arrests.
Terry Renshaw, from Bagillt, was one of 24 workers from North Wales and Chester sentenced after picketing in Shropshire during a national dispute in 1972.
The group, including actor Ricky Tomlinson, became known as the Shrewsbury 24 and have fought to overturn their convictions, which they claim were subject to ‘political interference’, ever since.
On Tuesday Terry travelled to London to meet his barrister and discuss putting the cases to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – with the hope of going to the Court of Appeal.
Six of the group – including Tomlinson, Arthur Murray from Bagillt and Kevin Butcher from Mostyn – have put their names to the action, but if successful the appeal would clear all 24.
Terry said: “We had a positive response and they now need to look at all the papers and should get back to us by early June and tell us whether they think there is a case to go to the CCRC.”
Terry, who was working on a construction site at Shotton Steel at the time, was one of about 150-200 North Wales construction workers who took part in the picketing on September 6, 1971.
The group met at Oswestry Labour Club before travelling to building sites in the area.
“Police officers took us to all the sites,” Terry said.
“At the end of the day the Chief Superintendent got on the coach and thanked us for the way we had conducted ourselves.”
But four months later 24 men were arrested for their actions.
The two most severe sentences were given to Tomlinson, who spent two years in prison, and Chester man Des Warren, who was sentenced to three years, both for conspiring to intimidate people to abstain from their lawful work.
Terry was given a 12-month suspended sentence for affray and unlawful assembly.
Thirty years after the arrests, new documents have shown that MI5 had been involved in the cases.
There have been attempts to look at other documents under the Freedom of Information Act but the Government has refused to release them under the interests of national security.
Terry said: “None of us are looking for financial gain – we just want to make it clear that we are just 24 people picked out of a hat who did nothing wrong.
“It has been a slow, torturous journey, but I’m quietly confident that we will get there.”
Terry, who is a Flint town councillor, added: “I will always keep fighting for the underdog to get what they deserve.”