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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 16:25 GMT
'Metric martyr' opts for a trial
Janet Devers
Janet Devers faces charges under the Weights and Measures Act
An east London market trader has chosen to be tried by a jury for allegedly breaking metric laws.

Janet Devers, who has a fruit and veg stall at Ridley Road Market in Dalston, is accused of using imperial weighing scales without an official stamp.

Officers from Hackney Council, which is bringing the prosecution, seized the 63-year-old's scales saying she failed to follow European Union (EU) rules.

Mrs Devers will next appear at Thames Magistrates' Court on 7 March.

The trader, from Wanstead, north-east London, faces 13 charges under the Weights and Measures Act.

It's in the hands of the public, and I hope they all support me
Janet Devers

Speaking after Friday's hearing the trader said the council's decision to prosecute was "disgusting".

She said: "I am much happier about having a jury trial because you won't get 12 people on the jury who will find me guilty.

"It's in the hands of the public, and I hope they all support me."

Petition

In September, the EU ruled the UK could use imperial measurements, such as pints and pounds, alongside metric measurements.

Mrs Devers had her imperial weighing scales seized from her market stall last year.

She has been called the new "metric martyr" by campaigners who this week called for four men, convicted over the use of imperial measures in 2001, to be pardoned.

Leigh Thoburn, the widow of Steve Thoburn who was fined for selling bananas by the pound and died of a heart attack in 2004, was in court along with other supporters from the Metric Martyrs' Defence Fund.

Giving her backing to Mrs Devers she said: "They've done exactly the same thing as they did with Steve, and you wonder why."

Earlier this week Mrs Thoburn handed in a petition, signed by 16,000 people, to the House of Commons calling for a pardon for her husband and three others.

SEE ALSO
Q&A: Pounds, pints and the EU
11 Sep 07 |  Europe
Will we ever go completely metric?
02 Sep 04 |  Magazine

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