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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 12:27 GMT
Judge weighs up case for pounds
Steven Thoburn arrives at court
Mr Thoburn was selling bananas in imperial measures
Five market traders, dubbed "metric martyrs" by their supporters, were greeted with applause as they began the latest round of their legal battle.

The quintet, from London, Surrey, Wearside and Cornwall, is fighting to continue trading in pounds and ounces.

The five men, who are contesting convictions and court orders, say the 1985 Weights and Measures Act authorises them to continue using imperial weights.

Around 200 protesters waved placards and banners demanding "Keep our lb" and sold fruit in imperial measures as the men entered court in London on Tuesday.

Landmark case

They are backed by celebrities including singer Elaine Paige, actor Edward Fox, and Lord Tebbit.

Mr Fox, star of Day of the Jackal and Gandhi, said: "I am here simply as a supporter of the Metric Martyrs' cause. I believe it is such an important issue for the people of Britain."

Lawyers representing the traders argue their cases are of constitutional importance, and mark a landmark case in the balance of power between the UK joined the European Community.

Steven Thoburn, from Sunderland, was fined for selling bananas by the pound.

Brussels sprouts

John Dove, of Camelford, Cornwall, was ordered to pay court costs for selling mackerel at 1.50 a pound and Julian Harman, also of Camelford, was ordered to pay costs for selling Brussels sprouts by the pound.

Colin Hunt, of Hackney, east London, was given a 12-month conditional discharge for pricing pumpkins and other vegetables by the pound.

Trader Peter Collins, of Sutton, Surrey, had his licence revoked for selling in imperial measures.

The biggest available courtroom in the Royal Courts of Justice in London has been set aside for the hearing, which could last up to five days.

See also:

11 Oct 01 | England
'Metric martyrs' haggle for review
13 Jul 01 | UK
Grocer loses metric battle
31 Dec 99 | UK
Measure for measure
29 Dec 99 | UK
Shops weigh up changes
15 Jan 01 | UK
Grocer fights metric laws
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