Metric martyrs launch High Court appeal

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Series Details Vol.7, No.38, 18.10.01, p8
Publication Date 18/10/2001
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Date: 18/10/01

By Laurence Frost

Their barrister Michael Shrimpton told Britain's High Court that the imposition of kilogram measurements was "an invasion of cultural space and a violation of the right to freedom of commercial speech".

The five - led by Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn - are invoking the European Human Rights Act to have their four fines and one licence revocation overturned. Shrimpton will argue that Britain's 1985 Weights and Measures Act allows traders the option of selling in pounds and overrides subsequent EU directives.

An Oxford University psychologist, Peter Bryant, is also set to give evidence suggesting that most British people still have trouble dealing in metric measures.

The traders' plight has attracted so much attention that the appeal, on 19 November, will be heard in the largest room in London's Royal Courts of Justice.

All five have admitted selling goods by the pound. As well as Thoburn, John Dove and Julian Harman, from Cornwall, Colin Hunt, from east London and Peter Collins, of Sutton, Surrey, are appealing.

Five UK market traders known as the 'metric martyrs' will appeal in November 2001 against their convictions for selling goods in imperial measures.

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