Hillsborough disaster: criminal charges against six people

Thursday 29 June 2017

On 28 June 2017 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced criminal charges against six individuals in connection with the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath.

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The announcement was made to the families of the deceased at a private meeting in Warrington by Sue Hemming, Head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division.

The full list of charges are as follows:

  • David Duckenfield, who was the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police on the day of the disaster. Charged with manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 men, women and children.
  • Graham Henry Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club's company secretary and safety officer at the time of the disaster in 1989. Charged with two offences of contravening a term of condition of a safety certificate contrary to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and one offence of failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of other persons who may have been affected by his acts or omissions at work under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • Peter Metcalf, the solicitor acting for the South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests. Charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice relating to material changes made to witness statements.
  • Former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton of South Yorkshire Police. It is alleged that Donald Denton oversaw the process of amending the statements and in doing so, he did acts that had a tendency to pervert the course of public justice
  • Former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster of South Yorkshire Police. CPS: “We will say that Alan Foster was central to the process of changing the statements and took action to do so.”
  • Norman Bettison, a former officer with South Yorkshire Police and subsequently Chief Constable of Merseyside and West Yorkshire Police. Charged with four offences of misconduct in public office relating to telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans.

The defendants, other than David Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates' Court on 9 August 2017.

In a statement issued by the CPS, Sue Hemming said:

"Following our careful review of the evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences. Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendants have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."

The full statement is available.

Seventeen barristers from Garden Court Chambers were involved in the inquests since they opened in 2014, representing 80 families of those who died as a result of the events at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989:  Terry Munyard,  Patrick Roche, Stephen SimbletPeter Wilcock QC, Leslie Thomas QC, Chris Williams, Martin HuseyinJudy Khan QC,  Allison Munroe, Rajiv Menon QCSean HorsteadEmma Favata, Brenda CampbellAnna MorrisKirsten HeavenJames Mehigan, and Tom Stoate.

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