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Calls grow for review of Scottish miners' convictions

SUPPORT is growing for an independent review of the convictions of Scottish miners found guilty of crimes during the infamous industrial dispute.

Almost 500 pit workers were convicted north of the Border of a range of offences after confronting police on the picket lines during the year-long miners' strike of 1984.

There are claims many of the convictions were miscarriages of justice and law firm Thompsons is understood to be planning to take five test cases to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) by the end of the year.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill earlier said any review of the convictions of miners could only take place if individuals contacted the SCCRC.

Now Inverclyde Council has backed a motion calling for the convictions to be independently reviewed after Neil Findlay MSP, who previously wrote to Mr MacAskill on the issue, sought support from its Labour group for a review.

The motion, put forward by Councillor Terry Loughran, expressed concern over allegations of police misconduct in the clash at the Orgreave coking plant and also in relation to the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

Mr Loughran said: "Recent revelations that members of the South Yorkshire Police were guilty of assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct are extremely troubling. It is estimated that 1000 people were arrested in Scotland during the miners' strike and half of those were convicted.

"With this motion the council is asking the Justice Secretary to initiate an independent review of all cases of miners and others convicted in Scotland."

Inverclyde Council's chief executive will now write to the Scottish Government.

The motion agreed says: "Council is keen to ensure that no similar malpractice occurred in Scotland; calls upon the Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill to initiate an independent review of all cases of miners and others convicted in Scotland and instructs the chief executive to write to the Scottish Government supporting the call for such a review."

The National Union of Minerworkers estimates 60% of the 11,000 miners arrested UK-wide, many for breaches of the peace, were apprehended on "bogus" grounds.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission in England is already investigating allegations of tampering with statements made by witnesses and officers relating to clashes at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire in 1984, one of the key flashpoints of the industrial dispute.

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