Hillsborough suspect files passed to Crown Prosecution Service

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Files on 23 people and organisations involved in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

An inquests jury concluded last April that the 96 victims of the FA Cup semi-final tragedy were unlawfully killed.

The jury found match commander, Ch Supt David Duckenfield, responsible for manslaughter by gross negligence.

Prosecutors will now decide whether to bring criminal charges against the unnamed 23.

The announcement follows the conclusion of two criminal investigations that were ordered in 2012.

Operation Resolve examined events up to and including the day of the disaster, including the police planning and preparation, ground design and the emergency response, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation looked into allegations of a cover-up in the days and weeks that followed.

Fifteen of the 23 suspects relate to Operation Resolve and eight to the IPPC investigation, but the names of individuals and organisations named in the files passed to prosecutors have not been made public.

Some of those previously named as suspects have died and cannot therefore be prosecuted.


Charges being considered include:

  • Gross negligence manslaughter
  • Perverting the course of justice
  • Misconduct in a public office
  • Offences under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act
  • Misconduct in a public office
  • Perverting the course of justice
  • Conspiring to pervert the course of justice

The CPS will also consider “any other relevant offences” on the evidence presented by both investigation teams, the IPCC said.

More than 170 allegations of police misconduct continue to be investigated by both the IPCC and Operation Resolve.

Families of those who died in the Sheffield tragedy have campaigned for more than 25 years to have individuals or public bodies responsible to be held to account.

Giving evidence at the Hillsborough Inquests, former match commander David Duckenfield accepted his failure to close a tunnel was the “direct cause of the deaths of 96 people”.

In his recent book, former chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, revealed that he was being treated as a suspect by the IPCC in mid-2015.

At the inquests, he said he was not part of a black propaganda unit set up to blame Liverpool fans.

It is not known whether his name has been put forward for a charging decision.

The IPCC probe is the biggest criminal investigation into alleged police misconduct ever conducted in England and Wales.

It’s understood the CPS may take up to six months to consider all the evidence.


Analysis by Lindsey Prosser, BBC North West Tonight

For years, the friends and families of the 96 Hillsborough victims have campaigned for individuals and corporate organisations to be held accountable.

In 1990, Lord Justice Taylor’s report following the public inquiry into the disaster stated that “a failure of police control” was the main cause.

But the Director of Public Prosecutions in England and Wales decided there was no justification to bring any prosecutions.

A year later, after accidental death verdicts were recorded, the families vowed to campaign for fresh inquests.

In 1997, after reviewing fresh evidence, Lord Justice Stuart-Smith said there was no such justification for a new inquiry.

The families’ quest for justice never ceased and was boosted in 2009 when the government agreed that all evidence relating to Hillsborough must be disclosed by all organisations involved.

The results were made public by the Hillsborough Independent Panel in 2012, paving the way for the fresh inquests in the spring of 2014.

Last year the inquest jury concluded that the 96 fans had been unlawfully killed and exonerated fans of any blame.

The HIP Report also led to the Operation Resolve and Independent Police Complaints Commission investigations.

(Why?)

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