My luck is changing! A comrade who works in the DHSS rang to tell me about a special grant being paid to single miners living in Newcastle, £126. Because I’ve been staying in Benwell, off and on, since November I qualified for the payment and went and got it, no problems at all. I spent the afternoon blowing every penny on buying presents for Kath and the girls. Stuff the future, and it was worth it to see the look on Kaths face when I got back. At least xmas hasn’t been cancelled this year for the girls. That’s what this fight is all about and their happiness comes above all else, to me at least.
Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page
I finally appeared at Sunderland Magistrates Court this afternoon and won! All those months banned from picketing, not to mention 3 days in jail, and the case is thrown out because the pigs cocked it up big time!
I was waiting outside of the courtroom with my two witnesses, Ian and Mick, and the pig who’d been photographed with me, but who hadn’t arrested me, didn’t seem to recognise who I was.
I was called in to see my Barrister and she asked me if I had any information which could help my case. I stressed that I had been arrested by two officers, an Inspector and a Sergeant, and that the young PC credited with my arrest had actually been sitting in the van I was thrown into after being dragged there by the two officers. I also said he was sitting outside and I had the feeling he didn’t know who I was. A man got up and left the room. My Barrister, a very clever woman, told me the police had offered to reduce the charge if I pleaded guilty. I refused on principle, but also because I had a very clear photograph of the two officers dragging me to the van, which I gave her.
Inside the courtroom I was very nervous and sat facing the bench. On the right there was a diagram of the alleged crime scene at Wearmouth Colliery. The young PC was called as the first and only witness for the prosecution, and was asked if he could identify the defendant in court. What a bloody joke! Of course he could bloody recognise me because I was sitting where defendants bloody sit! He then gave his version of what happened on the morning of September 5th, 1984, using the diagram to illustrate his points. According to him I had been at the head of a large body of pickets, lashing out at the police with feet and fists and behaving like a violent thug. He said that I had viciously attacked an Inspector, knocking him to the ground before leaping on him and grabbing him round the throat, trying to throttle him. The young PC then heroically arrested me by shoving my right arm up my back and leading me to the van where he put me inside. When he’d finished the Magistrate looked as if he was just about to have me hung. I was totally stunned.
My Barrister went straight onto the attack and asked if the ‘assaulted’ Inspector was in the court? He wasn’t. She then asked for his name and the young PC nervously admitted he didn’t know it. She began to pour scorn on his evidence, suggesting that if his statement were to be believed, I had seriously assaulted a senior police officer who was not in court and couldn’t be named. Surely the charge against me should have been serious assault, if not attempted murder instead of a mere ‘Breach of the Peace’. The young PC was gobsmacked and unable to explain any of it.
My Barrister then went straight for the throat and said,’I would remind you officer that you are on oath and that perjury is a very serious crime’. She then asked him if it was not true that when a colleague of hers had asked the PC, before court started, ‘Have you seen Norman Strike,it’s urgent? you replied,’I wouldn’t know him if I saw him’. The young PC stuttered that he hadn’t said that exactly, but she cut him short by reminding him again that he was still under oath. He then admitted that he had said that but added that I was definitely the man he had arrested because he recognised my face! She said that he could have seen me lots of times on previous days and he was forced to admit that was possible. She told the Magistrate that there was insufficient evidence to prove the charge against me and that it should be dropped. The Magistrate did some whispering and then, reluctantly it seemed to me, dismissed the case. Brilliant!
I thanked the Barrister and young colleague for their help and asked if there was any chance of me suing the police for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. She advised me to be content with my escape and not too push the police too far. It wouldn’t be a good move. Perhaps not but it would give me a lot of personal satisfaction. How could the police stand up in court, under oath, and blatantly lie and get away with it? British Justice Thatcher style.
As I was being congratulated by Ian and Mick, the young PC wished me and my family a very merry xmas, and added he was glad I got off! I couldn’t believe my ears. If he’d been believed I might have been spending xmas behind bars! Then he accused my barrister of using dirty tricks to trap him! I wanted to punch him but didn’t want any more grief so I just thanked him for confirming that the pigs are liars and cannot be trusted, and walked off with the lads to celebrate.
Today we had our Xmas Dinner in the kitchen and it was brilliant! The place was packed with families and single lads and we had entertainment, live music and a three course dinner with turkey and stuffing. There were also presents for the kids given personally by Santa but provided by all our supporters. I felt really proud at how things have grown since our small start, all thanks to the hard work of Gary, Florrie, Marion, Alison, Maureen and George, and the support from the long list of donors on sheets of paper hanging on the walls. We have achieved what we set out to do and that was to provide a focal point where people can come and sit in the warm and share their hopes and fears, and have a really nice meal. Jen and Sasha love it there, though Kath never brings them, probably to avoid questions about me.
Strangely I felt a bit like an outsider until Gary told me to come back down to earth and get back to being a poverty stricken miner instead of hobnobbing amongst the stars. He is right, but it was a good experience, even if it does make me feel guilty. Nowt new there then.
Last night I went to the London Records Christmas Party and got totally and utterly pissed! I probably made a complete fool of myself. I do remember having a heated row with a Radio One DJ about the strike and calling him an arsehole, and leering at Bananarama (must’ve been really pissed!) I found a straw boater on the floor this morning and I vaguely recall someone telling me it belonged to Elton John, though I’m certain he wasn’t there last night.Perhaps I can raffle it to raise funds for the kitchen?
I caught the train to newcastle from Kings Cross, ticket paid fpr by Chris. My welcome home was a huge improvement on the last time, and I’m beginning to hope we can sort out our problems.
We went out together tonight and spent most of it talking about the future and when the strike ends. I told Kath it’ll go on for a long time yet because we’ve come too far to give in now. At least Kath and the girls are living much better without me because they’re getting proper support from the DHSS, such as it is. Anyway, lets see what the new year has in store.
I’ve spent the last couple of days in Croydon as a guest of Steve, an SWP comrade. he has been great, helping me to raise yet more funds for the kitchen. The best was this evening when I spoke to a large group of shop stewards at a factory in East Croydon. They weren’t an easy audience and asked a lot of hard questions, especially about the death of a Welsh taxi driver taking a scab to work. My answer to that was that if we had been allowed to picket then men wouldn’t have been forced into such desperate actions away from the pit. My only regret is that the scab survived! I received good applause and a promise of support for the kitchen.
Kath rang tonight to apologise for her cold reception of last week and asked me to return to spend Christmas as a family. I said yes and am going back on Friday. I have to go back anyway for my court appearance and I’m expecting to stay at Paul McGarrs place in Newcastle and visit home during the day. We’ll see how it goes.
I left a short note on the kitchen table and left really early while they were all sleeping. The bloody couch was bloody uncomfortable, and cold. Not as cold as her bloody bed!
Back on the couch in Chris’s front room, which is comfortable.
I’ve been very homesick for the past few days so I decided to go home to see Kath and the girls on impulse. I caught the Newcastle coach from St.Pancras and arrived on my doorstop around three. Kath opened the door with the words;’What the hell are you doing here?’ and it went downhill from there. I’ve spent the whole night talking to her, or at her would be closer to the truth. She just ignored me and seemed really bitter I’m here. I’m off back down to London first thing. Stuff her. At least I tried. The girls don’t understand what’s going on and it’s not bloody fair! Selfish cow!
I attended the National Miners Support Group Conference in Camden Town Hall. It was so well attended that over 1,400 people turned up and an overflow meeting had to be set up in the nearby University of London for 500 people. Tony Benn said nothing but spoke for 15 minutes, and Scargill never even turned up. I was asked to speak at the overflow meeting and did. I got a good reception. It was encouraging to see so much support and more money for the soup kitchen, £101, from the bucket collection.