Socialist Worker

Hillsborough trials set to begin at last

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2635

The Hillsborough disaster took place at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium

The Hillsborough disaster took place at the Sheffield Wednesday stadium (Pic: Flickr/Gareth Simpson)

The trials of two men charged in relation to the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster are set to start on 14 January.

The two are David Duckenfield, who was match commander on the day, and Graham Mackrell, who was secretary of Sheffield Wednesday football club.

Some 96 Liverpool fans died as a result of the disaster, following a crush in pens 3 and 4 at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground.

Judge Sir Peter Openshaw in December dismissed a request from Duckenfield’s lawyers to halt his prosecution.

Duckenfield faces 95 charges of gross negligence manslaughter. There can be no prosecution for the 96th victim of the disaster, Tony Bland.

According to the law in 1989, a charge of manslaughter can’t be applied in relation to someone who died over a year and a day after the alleged criminal acts took place.

Bland suffered critical brain injuries in the crush and was placed on life support. That was turned off in 1993.

Mackrell has been charged with an offence involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

Three other men have been charged with criminal offences relating to the disaster, and are due to stand trial in September.

These are former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent Donald Denton, former chief inspector Alan Foster and former South Yorkshire police force solicitor Peter Metcalf.

They are charged with undertaking acts with intent to pervert the course of justice relating to alleged amendments made to officers’ statements.

All five men deny the charges.

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