The Birmingham Six: Their Own Story

On 21 November, 1974, the Mulberry Bush pub at the foot of the city’s Rotunda tower and the nearby Tavern in the Town, were both destroyed within minutes of each other.
Six men imprisoned for the attacks had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal, after 16 years in jail, in March 1991.
The Birmingham Six – Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker – were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975.
Human-rights lawyer Gareth Peirce who helped free the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four is now leading the fight for justice for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes. Here she is interviewed:
I.R.A. suspects the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six spent years in jail before you secured their release. Do their cases offer lessons for today? “I think these cases were an object lesson in how not to do things. It was a very belated dawning that unless an entire national community and the reasons for the conflict were understood, and a political solution devised, there could never be an end to the armed struggle. Now that message has been ignored — there is a completely baffling and frightening failure to understand what motivates political Islam.”
So you see parallels with the current situation? “Speaking to one of the Guildford Four recently, his reaction is: “Those poor guys, those Muslims — that’s exactly what happened to us. Has nobody learned?””
The Guildford Four’s story was the subject of a film, In the Name of the Father.
In August 1975 they were sentenced to life in prison on the basis of the false confessions. The men were denied the right to appeal and forced to wait until 1987 when their case was referred to the Court of Appeal, after new evidence emerged, before being rejected.
Public protests kept the case in the spotlight until August 1990 when forensic investigations showed their confessions had been tampered with.

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  1. What about the hundreds of British innocents hanged or jailed by British ‘Justice’? The difference being, most don’t get publicity. And we must remember that so-called forensic expert Dr. Skues is ENTIRELY to blame – no defence could turn the jury away from the fact that, according to him, they’d ALL handled explosives. It was his flawed psuedo-science that sent the bent coppers in to overdrive, convinced that science had proven the case. Can you believe that not one single test-subject was used during the tests? Had that happened, it would have shown that others were ‘positive for explosives’!

  2. Great article and fully calling out what I would call yesterday’s heroes. An appalling example of British so called justice.Put anyone of those police or prison gaurds alone with any Irishman in that situation with his hands untied and he would be ripped a new life . Can’t think of any example of an Irish person treating another human being like that . These men need to look at themselves in the mirror and hang their heads in shame . Unfortunately not one of them was ever charged despite the overwhelming evidence of brutality against what was clearly after proven to be against completely innocence people. The 6’s lack of bitterness is commendable but the lack of humanity and understanding of job description on the part of the police and prison officers needs to be called out . We all need to move forward but lack of accountability is not helpful in my view .

  3. The wonderful british legal system at its caper’s again jailing innocent people cos of their nationality the police knew from the start that these people were innocent but still jailed them just like the guildford four the exact same circumstances lead to the jail of paddy conlon and some of his family members plus the death of his father while in jail for a crime that they NEVER committed, but the terrible thing about all this is that NONE of the police involved never got prosecuted or nothing happened to them which is very wrong