Three trials planned in Hillsborough disaster prosecutions

By Michael Upton | 27/07/2017

Three trials planned in Hillsborough disaster prosecutions

THREE separate trials could be held for those charged in relation to the Hillsborough disaster.

The Crown Prosecution Service today outlined details of the ongoing prosecutions of six men following the events of April 15, 1989, which led to the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the Sheffield football ground.

It revealed that, if all the defendants all plead not guilty, three trials will take place.

David Duckenfield, police commander on the day, and Graham Mackrell, secretary of Sheffield Wednesday at the time, will be tried at the same time.

Duckenfield has been charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence, while Mackrell faces two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Ex-police solicitor Peter Metcalf, former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster, who are all accused in relation to alleged alterations to officers’ statements, will be the defendants in a separate trial.

All are accused of perverting the course of public justice or doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice.

Former police chief Norman Bettison, said to have committed misconduct in public office in relation to claims he made in the wake of the disaster, will be tried on his own.

The CPS said it had written to the Hillsborough victims’ families to update them on the progress of the prosecutions.

It detailed the lawyers instructed to prosecute each defendant and laid out when the next court hearings are due.

All defendants, with the exception of David Duckenfield, will appear at Warrington Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, August 9.

The case against Duckenfield is proceeding a different way because an application needs to be made to a High Court judge to lift a stay against prosecution imposed at the end of a private prosecution case against him in 2000.

If the application is successful that case will proceed straight to the Crown Court to join the case against Graham Mackrell, providing both defendants indicate their intention to plead not guilty.

The CPS said: “It is anticipated that there will be three separate trials, if the application above is successful and all defendants plead not guilty. 

“However this will be subject to any representations that the defendants may wish to make and the ultimate decision will be made by the court.”

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