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Irvine Welsh backs miner convictions review

novelist Irvine Welsh has backed a campaign to review the criminal convictions of hundreds of Scottish miners convicted during the 1984-85 strike.

NOVELIST Irvine Welsh has backed a campaign to review the criminal convictions of hundreds of Scottish miners convicted during the 1984-85 strike.

Welsh, whose works include Trainspotting, has called on Scots to support the campaign run by Labour MSP Neil Findlay and Labour MP David Hamilton – a former miner who spent two months in jail on remand during the strike before being cleared.

Campaigners say the convictions of nearly 500 strikers may be unsafe and politically 
motivated – particularly for picket line offences, for which miners claim they were threatened with custodial sentences but offered less severe punishments if they accepted bail conditions that banned them from picketing.

Welsh’s latest novel Skagboys chronicles parts of the strike like the clashes at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire in 1984, one of the key flashpoints of the industrial dispute.

The Leith-born writer posted a message on Twitter asking for a review of the convictions saying: “People in Scottish mining communities who suffered wrongful arrest during the strike: get in touch with this campaign.”

The novelist’s backing for the campaign comes after Scotland’s justice secretary Kenny MacAskill sidestepped calls from campaigners to review the guilty verdicts of the miners.

Law firm Thompsons is planning to take test cases to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission by the end of the year,

 

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