This happened at the High Court on 11th May:
9:30am – John McDonnell MP joins blacklisted workers outside the High Court celebrating their legal victory against the major construction firms. McDonnell reminds the crowd how he chaired the first ever meeting of the Blacklist Support Group back in 2009 with less than 10 people present – but now we have won a famous victory. McDonnell tells the 100s of supporters and the world’s media and his millions of twitter followers that “compensation is one thing, justice is another”
10:30am – Roy Bentham, blacklisted carpenter from Liverpool, makes an application not to be bound by the settlement agreement but to be able to continue to the full trial representing himself. Bentham tells the court how as a Hillsborough survivor he had waited 27 years for justice with many false hopes in courtrooms over the decades. He explains that he wants to continue to ensure that those responsible for the blacklist are called to account. “A bit of compensation here and there is not justice.” There was a spontaneous round of applause and cheering from the packed public gallery.
Lord Justice Supperstone ruled against Roy and denied him the right to appeal. Responding Bentham said: “This will be judged in time because this hasn’t been justice today. I look at the episode in this courtroom as a failure of the British justice system”.
11am – Construction firms at the centre of the blacklisting conspiracy were forced to make a grovelling apology “for the distress and anxiety caused to workers and their families”. A six page agreed statement (attached) was read in open court which reads like a history of blacklisting in construction from the 1960s, covering the covert operations of the ‘Services Group’ within the notorious Economic League until the discovery of The Consulting Association blacklist in 2009. Senior company directors including Cullum McAlpine are named in the statement which ends with an apology from the firms.
While welcoming the agreed statement for putting on public record the shameful activities that have tarnished the reputation of an entire industry, blacklisted workers remain extremely skeptical about how genuine the apology really is. Even now the firms cannot bring themselves to use the toxic word ‘blacklisting’, despite the British Parliament passing the Blacklist Regulations 2010 in order to outlaw the disgraceful practice as a direct response to the Consulting Association scandal.
11:30am At the point where Caldercott QC apologised on behalf of the firms, the High Court hearing was interrupted for several minutes by chants of ‘No Justice – No Peace’ by blacklisted workers and an impromptu speech by Dave Smith who told the court, “Under no circumstances do we consider this to be a sincere apology.”
12:00 – The judge rules the High Court blacklisting group litigation is concluded – blacklisted workers, lawyers and supporters went to the pub to celebrate our victory.
BSG would like to publicly thank all the legal teams who have worked on out behalf over many years but especially JC townsend and Liam Dunne who have been with us from the very start. Without GCR, there would not have been any High Court litigation.
Blacklist Support Group statement:
“The victory in the High Court is vindication for our campaign..
The multi-million pound settlements are a major hit for any organisation.
The admissions wrung out of the blacklisting companies are enormous.
The grassroots campaign combined with the legal fight has brought us to this point. But the Blacklist Support Group do not agree with the wording of the apology, nor do we think it is sincere.
The only thing the firms are sorry for is getting caught.
This is not the end of the matter – this is unfinished business.
Blacklist Support Group demand a full public inquiry to fully expose the blacklisting human rights conspiracy and the collusion between big business and the shadowy anti-democratic elements within the police. We are hardworking men and women used to getting our hands dirty. We are not giving up until the job is completed
Full justice still needs to be fought for – but tonight we celebrate
All those who have stood with us over the past 7 years, raise a glass to celebrate”.
Blacklist Support Group