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METRIC MARTYRS 1

Steve Thoburn
Neil Herron
Peter Collins
The City with STONES at heart
The Shrimpton Opinion

See also "A Banana Republic?", on the legal and constitutional implications. Click here for direct link.

 

METRIC MARTYRS WIN EV50 "CAMPAIGNER OF THE YEAR" AWARD

METRIC MARTYRS STEVEN THOBURN AND NEIL HERRON HAVE WON THE JOINTLY NOMINATED "CAMPAIGNER OF THE YEAR" AWARD AT THE EUROPEAN VOICE "EUROPEAN OF THE YEAR" AWARDS TUESDAY 4 DECEMBER IN BRUSSELS PRIZE OF 5000 EURO TO BE DONATED TO A CANCER CHARITY

DETAILS OF THE AWARD ARE AVAILABLE AT WWW.EV50.COM

Message from Neil Herron
6.12.01

To Everyone,

A heartfelt thanks from Steven and myself for the support we received enabling us to walk into the lion's den and take away the Campaigner of the Year Award. We pulled no punches while we were there and the message went out loud and clear............we will not tolerate continued interference in our own domestic affairs, and if our own elected representatives continue to look the other way then we will go after them as well.

Hecklers in the audience were put down with huge embarrassment and no-one else dared raise their heads during the rest of our 5 minute oration. The 5000 Euro prize will be donated to CancerBACUP....a support charity for cancer victims and their families. They are a grass roots organisation and this amount will enable them to set up a new initiative.

After returning we have received limited local and national coverage so I think we need to raise the point in the local letters pages that this is indeed a monumental achievement on behalf of the people in general. The balance of public opinion is important to put increasing pressure on the Leader of Sunderland Council to now reconsider his position.

''Metric Martyrs symbolise the fight and spirit of the people of Sunderland in the face of overwhelming odds, a fight which has put Sunderland on the international map for the right reasons''
''The stand by the Leader and his officials has brought nothing but shame and derision on the city.''........................comments from local radio phone-ins over the past couple of days.

So, once again, thanks to everyone and if you can please forward this to everyone as you did before. The 'people' have spoken and their voice is getting louder and stronger. The following are email addresses for our local & supportive newspapers, Leader and Chief Executive of Sunderland Council:

Sunderland Echo echo.news@northeast-press.co.uk

Newcastle Journal jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk

Evening Chronicle comments@evening-chronicle.co.uk

Northern Echo david.kelly@nne.co.uk

Daily Mail letters@dailymail.co.uk

Daily Telegraph dtletters@telegraph.co.uk

Councillor Colin Anderson (Leader of Sunderland Council) leaders.office@sunderland.gov.uk

Dr Colin Sinclair (Chief Executive of Sunderland Council) administration@sunderland.gov.uk

Lets inundate them over the next few days to show a massive swell of public support in advance of the announcement of the date of the High Court judgement. Regards, Neil Herron

Tel: 0191 565 7143 / Mobile 07776 202045


On 4th July Sunderland Market Trade Steve Thoburn was visited at his market stall by two Trading Standards Officers from Sunderland City Council. Several weeks earlier, he had received an Infringment Notice informing him that his Imperial scales were now incorrect and he should change them to Metric.

The two TSO's ordered him to remove his scales from his stall there and then. He refused. He was warned that he was committing a criminal offence and that thePolice would be called if he didn't hand the scales over. He didn't. The TSO's then called the Police, telling them that there could be a Breach of the Peace because Mr Thoburn was refusing to hand over his scales. They told the Police they had legal authority to seize his scales under Section 79 of the Weights and Measures Act 1985.

A letter from Neil Herron is shown on the next page. Meanwhile this case has received massive publicity and will continue to do so. It is possible that the "case" against Mr Thoburn might be the first major test of the draconian (and probably unlawful) metrication regulations.
Michael Shrimpton, barrister, has provided an extensive Opinion on the (lack of) legality of the compulsory metrication regulations [see below] and will be representing Mr Thoburn.

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Steve and Lee Thoburn, Lynn and Neil Herron (photo Tony Bennett)

BWMA press release :-

2 October 2000
Sunderland City Council has already violated Steve Thoburn's rights and proper legal procedures - even before the case has begun!

The first that Steve Thoburn knew of the Council's decision to prosecute him for trading in pounds and ounces was from a press statement by the Council on 4th September. It is outrageous that the Council failed to notify him or his Solicitors before telling the world.

The Council did not have the Summons ready for delivery. The Legal Services Manager wrote on the 19th promising that the Summons "will be effected very shortly", yet even now, two weeks later - four weeks after the press statement - the Summon has still not been served! Until it has, Mr Thoburn cannot know precisely what crime(s) he is alleged to have committed. Yet meanwhile the Council's legal advisers are no doubt busy preparing the prosecution case. These delays do not merely amount to mal-administration; they are certainly intended to prejudice the preparation of his defence.

Mr Thoburn's Solicitors have repeatedly asked for a copy of the Opinion dated 15th August, by Eleanor Sharpston QC, retained by the prosecution, but the Council has still not complied, on the excuse that the Opinion was not produced on its instructions but for the Local Government Association, whose permission is needed to release it.
This is nonsense, because the LGA procured this Opinion for the benefit of its members, e.g. Sunderland Council. Besides, any such permission was readily available. Moreover, the Council has enjoyed the advantage of studying the opinion dated 22nd December last, and supplementary Note of 23rd January, by Michael Shrimpton, the barrister since retained by Mr Thoburn. This seems yet another ruse designed to impede the defence.

Sunderland Council can only have damaged its own case by conducting the preliminaries so disreputably. It would not have resorted to these tactics if there were any confidence in the merits of the prosecution.

There is now a direct fighting fund to which the public can make donations:
Make your cheques payable to "Steve Thoburn, Metric Martyr (Defence Fund)" and send them to PO BOX 526, Sunderland, SR1 3YS
Payments can also be made at any NatWest branch to account 36457469, sort code 55-61-11

THE SUMMONS

This was delivered to Mr Thoburn's solicitors on 6.10.00

INFORMATION has this day been laid by Colin G Langley, Director of Administration and duly authorised Officer of the Council of the City of Sunderland of Civic Centre, Sunderland, being the local weights and measures authority for the said City THAT on the fourth day of July, 2000 at The Market, Southwick, Sunderland in the County of Tyne and Wear, you did have in your possession for use for trade a non-automatic weighing machine, namely a System 30 weighing machine, serial number 190073, which did not bear a stamp indicating that it had been passed by an Inspector or approved verifier as fit for such use, which was not defaced otherwise than by reason of fair wear and tear.

CONTRARY to Section 11 (2) of the Weights and Measures Act, 1985.

YOU are hereby summoned to appear before the Magistrates' Court sitting at Gillbridge Avenue, Sunderland on Tuesday the 7th day of November 2000 at the hour of 2:00 p.m. to answer the said Information.

Clerk to the Justices for the Petty Sessional Division of Sunderland

URGENT APPEAL FOR PETER COLLINS, street trader.

Neil Heron's Letter

The City with STONES at Heart

Michael Shrimpton's Opinion

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