Hillsborough disaster: David Duckenfield to face trial
The former match commander at the Hillsborough tragedy will now face trial for manslaughter after a judge lifted a stay on his prosecution.
Following a hearing in April, Judge Sir Peter Openshaw ruled on Friday (June 29) that an order preventing former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield from being tried over the disaster should be quashed.
In June 2017, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed plans to charge the former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 victims of the April 1989 disaster.
But for that to happen, a legal restriction preventing his prosecution had to be lifted. The ‘stay’ was imposed in 2000 after a failed private case was brought against Mr Duckenfield.
Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
Mr Duckenfield is expected to go on trial sometime in September 2018 alongside Graham Mackrell, the former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary, who faces health and safety and sports ground safety offences.
Three other defendants – ex-Chief Superintendent Donald Denton, former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster, and retired force solicitor Peter Metcalf, who acted on behalf of South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster – are scheduled to go on trial in January 2019 over perverting the course of justice charges.
Former West Yorkshire and Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison is due to go on trial on four counts of misconduct in public office at Preston Crown Court on various dates in late 2018 and 2019.
Ahead of the scheduled trials they intend to mount an ‘abuse of process’ application, although the specific grounds have not been made public.