The Taylor Enquiry, an investigation by the DPP, Stewart-Smith’s ‘Enquiry’ and then the truth. The aforementioned have always been tainted with “cover ups” and a recalibration of what is the truth. The police had even “edited” their statements for the Taylor enquiry removing any suggestion that the police were to blame. Lord Justice Stewart-Smith concluded in his enquiry that “altering police statements did not amount to irregularity and malpractice”. ..
On the 26th April 2016 the jury returned true verdicts following their scrutiny of ALL of the evidence. They found that the victims had been unlawfully killed and NOT by accident as had been previously determined during the Taylor Enquiry.
The jury had to be convinced that overall match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield (1) owed a duty of care to those who died in the disaster, and (2) that he was in breach of that duty of care, and (3) that his breach of duty caused the deaths and, (4) that it amounted to “gross negligence”.
They concluded it was unlawful killing by a 7-2 majority.
During the hearing Duckenfield admitted that he had told a “terrible lie” when he claimed Liverpool fans had forced open the gate to the Leppings Lane end of the ground, where the fatal crush happened. “If we’re categorising things, that was a terrible lie, in that everybody knew the truth. The fans knew the truth, that we’d opened the gates, the police officers knew we’d opened the gates,” he said.
Sue Hemming, the head of special crime and counter-terrorism division at the CPS, indicated that prosecutors were collaborating with Operation Resolve, the investigation into possible manslaughter and other criminal offences, and the IPCC, which investigates complaints against police forces.
If the CPS were to decide to prosecute Duckenfield, it would have to apply to lift a stay of prosecution ordered in 2000, a spokesman confirmed. Judge Anthony Hooper, who heard the private prosecution brought 17 years ago by the Hillsborough Family Support Group against Duckenfield and his deputy, Supt Bernard Murray, did not order a retrial after Murray was acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on Duckenfield, and put a stay on any further prosecution.
Offences under consideration include gross negligence manslaughter, misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice, and breaches of health and safety and stadium safety legislation.
This will not happen very quickly, the reviewing lawyers will have to look at all of the evidence again and decide on charging according to the code of crown prosecutors. It is suggested that such a file for review will be available by the end of the year. I anticipate that any charging decsions are likely to be around this time next year.