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Young Socialists among seven jailed

(September 1984)

From Militant, No. 716, 14 September 1984, p. 2.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

SEVEN YOUNG workers from Armthorpe in Yorkshire were sent to prison on Tuesday for relatively minor offences.

The five miners and two unemployed – including an LPYS member and a Militant supporter – received sentences of between 3–6 months after being charged with causing criminal damage and using insulting words and behaviour.

In what must be a warning for the labour movement, this was one of the first cases to be heard by a stipendiary magistrate. It is clear that these ‘flying judges’ are being sent out to inflict judicial revenge and vindictiveness on the miners on behalf of the government.

The seven were arrested after an incident in the village on a Saturday night. While the incident itself cannot be condoned – but the frustration of these young workers well understood – the severity of the sentences must be fought by the labour movement.

The sentences are totally disproportionate to the charges, which usually carry a fine or binding over. The local paper carried a report the day before where the crime was more serious; seven youths called out a police car and then ambushed it. Two of them received £200 fines while the rest were bound over.

Local people believe the severity of the sentences is revenge for the political activity and successful demonstration in the village following an earlier police riot there (see page 3). Indeed, while the rest were sent into youth custody and Detention Centres, Guy Bennet, a Markham Main NUM and LPYS member who played a leading part in the protests, and Militant supporter and unemployed miner Mark Camplin were sent to prison.

However, the movement is beginning to take up the issue. A picket was held at Doncaster magistrates court where the cases were heard, and a protest meeting called for Thursday September 13. Plans for a mass demonstration outside the prison must be drawn up, involving the miners, trade unionists and the LPYS.

It is vital that in any settlement of the miners strike, an amnesty is ensured for all miners who have faced trumped up charges, and their jobs guaranteed whether the offences took place on the picket lines or as the result of police activities in their communities.

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Last updated: 24 September 2016