STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

UK judge ends trial of alleged coverup in 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans die

After four weeks of evidence, Judge William Davis told jurors in Salford, northwest England, he agreed with lawyers for the defendants that there was no case they could properly consider.

Published: 26th May 2021 07:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2021 07:57 PM   |  A+A-

Liverpool soccer fans arrive at Anfield Stadium to pay their respects as flower tributes cover the 'Kop' end of the field, in Liverpool

Liverpool soccer fans arrive at Anfield Stadium to pay their respects as flower tributes cover the 'Kop' end of the field, in Liverpool (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

LONDON: A British judge on Wednesday ended the trial of two former police officers and an ex-lawyer on charges of perverting the course of justice in connection with the 1989 Hillsborough soccer stadium disaster that saw 96 Liverpool fans die.

After four weeks of evidence, Judge William Davis told jurors in Salford, northwest England, he agreed with lawyers for the defendants that there was no case they could properly consider.

Donald Denton, an 83-year-old retired chief superintendent at South Yorkshire Police, former detective chief inspector Alan Foster, 74, and former solicitor Peter Metcalf, 71, had each been charged with acting to pervert the course of justice.

They were accused of amending police officers’ statements after the disaster in an attempt to minimize the blame that would be heaped on the police force after a crush of fans inside two standing-room-only areas of the stadium led to the deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The judge said the amended statements were intended for a subsequent public inquiry into sporting event safety that was not a “course of public justice” and therefore could not be perverted.

“Whatever the anxiety and distress, I have to determine whether there is evidence to support the particular criminal offense with which these defendants have been charged,” David said. “In concluding that there is not, that is all I do.”

Families have waged a decades-long quest to seek justice for their loved ones who died on April 15, 1989, during the crush at a soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The deaths initially were ruled accidental — a ruling overturned in 2012 after a new, wide-ranging inquiry.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the defendants expressed their sympathy to the families of the people who died but criticized the Crown Prosecution Service for pursuing the case.

“There are serious questions to be asked about how at least 70 million pounds ($100 million) of public money could be spent on an investigation which uncovered no evidence of criminal conduct of any kind, but which somehow took so long to come to the conclusion in a court of law," said Mike Renton, Denton's lawyer.

Sue Hemming, the director of legal services at the Crown Prosecution Service, said it was “right to bring this case and for a court to hear the evidence of what happened in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.”

The ruling was met with dismay from families as well as campaigners who work on behalf of the bereaved.

Speaking outside court, Christine Burke, whose father, Henry, died in the disaster, said she was “devastated” by the collapse of the case.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has been heavily involved in the campaign for justice for Hillsborough victims, slammed the court decision a “disgrace and so disrespectful to the families.”

“Why was it not left to the jury to decide? From what I have witnessed first-hand over the last four years, I can only conclude that the scales of justice in this country are weighed heavily against ordinary people,” Burnham said.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

edexworks
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp