Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

'Metric martyr' launches appeal

Janet Devers
Janet Devers said her conviction was unfair

An east London market trader is to launch an appeal against a conviction for breaking metric laws.

Janet Devers, 64, used imperial weighing scales on her fruit and vegetable stall at Ridley Road Market in Dalston.

She was convicted this month of eight charges under the Weights and Measures Act at Thames Magistrates' Court.

Mrs Devers' appeal comes as the government acts to end the prosecution of so-called "metric martyrs".

The government will shortly issue new guidelines to local authorities to encourage "proportionate" action.

I believe I have been made a scapegoat in all this because the council wanted to make an example of me
Janet Devers

Innovation Secretary John Denham said it was hard to see how the such legal action was in the public interest.

Mrs Devers said: "I was convicted just before the minister announced that such prosecutions should not be brought and I hope the courts will see that my conviction was unfair.

"I believe I have been made a scapegoat in all this because the council wanted to make an example of me.

Janet Devers on her appeal

Janet, from Wanstead, east London, and her brother Colin Hunt have both been prosecuted by Hackney Council for refusing to abandon imperial measures.

Mrs Devers is backed by the Metric Martyrs campaign, which is fighting for a change in the law to end such prosecutions.

The group has hired barristers to fight for pardons for four other traders and they could now take on Ms Devers' case.

These include late Sunderland trader Steve Thoburn, John Dove and Julian Harman, both from Cornwall, and Mr Hunt.

Ms Devers will lodge appeal papers at Thames Magistrates' Court on Monday.

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