Scottish miners convicted during 80s strikes could be reprieved in Hillsborough-style inquiry


NEARLY 500 Scottish miners convicted in the 1980s could have their criminal records erased in an inquiry similar to that of the Hillsborough tragedy.

Demands have been issued that Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill should conduct a “full, independent and comprehensive review” into each case dating back nearly 30 years.

The plea was voiced by Labour politicians Neil Findlay MSP and David Hamilton MP – a former miner who spent two months in jail for his part in the strikes in 1984/85.

Miners who were reprimanded like those in Yorkshire could see their convictions overturned (pic: Kelly)


They argue a new investigation could reveal evidence similar to the Hillsborough football tragedy in 1989 where the police were found to have covered up the truth during an incident where 96 people died.

But while members of the police acknowledge “wrongs need to be righted” they claim any probe should be forgotten about because of cost reasons.

Neil Findlay MSP, who represents a former mining constituency at Holyrood, said: “From the evidence we have seen over Orgreave and Hillsborough there is a duty on the Scottish Government and police to look again at the cases.

“I’ve had people coming to me and raising concerns about the legitimacy of the convictions against them or their relatives.”

Midlothian MP David Hamilton, a former aide to party leader Ed Miliband and now the current chief Scottish Labour whip at Westminster, said: “People passed away with blemishes on their records.

“These were people who never had never been convicted of anything before and had never been in trouble.

“The Scottish Government now has the devolved power to open up an inquiry and review all the cases in Scotland.”

The call comes as the Independent Police Complaints Commission is carrying out an investigation into allegations officers tampered with witness statements at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire.

The letter to MacAskill reads: “Given what we now know happened in Yorkshire there is a need to carry out a full, independent and comprehensive review of each and every one of the convictions brought against those involved in the dispute in Scotland.”

Senior Nationalist MSP John Wilson is set to back the motion today (Monday) calling on SNP ministers to re-examine the cases.

He said: “Given the evidence of prosecutions during the miners’ strike the Scottish Government should take every step to review the cases in light of the actions of the police and prosecution services during that period.

“The prosecutions should be reviewed and then quashed. We’re coming up to their 30th anniversary of the strike and it’s clear now that the state was involved in trying to undermine the legitimate actions of the striking miners.”



But Brian Doherty, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation said that re-opening the cases would just get in the way of “current policing”.

He said: “We could look at every decision that’s been made in history – where’s it all going to end?

“We’ve got enough to be going on with just now. This sort of mindset is hardly helpful at a time when we’re being told to be financially prudent.

“Bringing in these sorts of inquiries has a cost to the public purse that ultimately means having a potential impact on what we’re doing now.

“I do agree wrongs need to be righted but it needs to be balanced against the cost of the public purse and the impact that has on current policing.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said ministers would “consider any correspondence and respond in due course” to the request made by the politicians.