The CCRC has referred the case of Thomas “Brian” Williams, a member of the “Shrewsbury 24”, to the Court of Appeal. This referral has been made posthumously, as Mr Williams died in 2013.
Mr Williams stood trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court in early 1974. At some stage during the trial, he pleaded guilty to affray and unlawful assembly and was later sentenced to a 6-month prison sentence.
This was the second of three trials at which a total of 24 men were prosecuted following the events at several building sites in September 1972. These men, 22 of whom were ultimately convicted, became known as the “Shrewsbury 24”.
In March 2021 the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions of 14 members of the “Shrewsbury 24”, following earlier referrals by the CCRC (R v Warren and Others  EWCA Crim 413).
Mr Williams’s daughter-in-law applied to the CCRC in September 2021, requesting a review of his case. After careful consideration, the CCRC has decided that, in light of the Court’s decision in R v Warren and Others, there is a real possibility that the Court of Appeal will quash Mr Williams’s conviction too.
Helen Pitcher, Chairman of the CCRC said:
“In March of this year, the Court of Appeal quashed 14 “Shrewsbury 24” convictions on grounds relating to the destruction of witness statements and a failure to disclose this fact. In their judgment, the Court concluded that, applying modern standards of fairness, the verdicts in all three trials were ‘unsafe.’”
“We know that there are another 7 men who were convicted at these trials. The CCRC would urge any of those individuals or their families to get in touch with us so we can also look into these convictions on their behalf.”
This press release was issued by the Communications Team, Criminal Cases Review Commission. They can be contacted by phone on: 0121 232 0900 or by email: email@example.com.
Notes to editors
- The CCRC is an independent body set up under the Criminal Appeal Act 1995. It is responsible for independently reviewing suspected and alleged miscarriages of criminal justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is based in Birmingham and is funded by the Ministry of Justice.
- There are currently 11 Commissioners who bring to the CCRC considerable experience from a wide variety of backgrounds. Commissioners are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.
- The CCRC usually receives around 1,400 applications for reviews (convictions and/or sentences) each year. Since starting work in 1997, the CCRC has referred around 3% of applications to the appeal courts.
- The CCRC considers whether, as a result of new evidence or argument, there is a real possibility that the conviction would not be upheld were a reference to be made. New evidence or argument is argument or evidence which has not been raised during the trial or on appeal. Applicants should usually have appealed first. A case can be referred in the absence of new evidence or argument or an earlier appeal only if there are “exceptional circumstances”.
- If a case is referred, it is then for the appeal court to decide whether the conviction is unsafe or the sentence unfair.
- More details about the role and work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission can be found at www.ccrc.gov.uk. The CCRC can be found on Twitter @ccrcupdate and Instagram the_ccrc