On Wednesday, the Criminal Prosecution Service announced that, after a meeting with families of the 96 people who met their death in the Hillsborough disaster of April 15, 1989, they have charged 6 people in connection to the event.
Match commander David Duckenfield (one of the 6 people charged), will be charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence. The CPS had successfully applied to the High Court to lift an order imposed after a 1999 prosecution of Duckenfield. It was necessary to lift that that order before charging him.
Graham Mackrell, the former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary is also facing charges for breaching Health and Safety at Sports Ground legislation.
Former Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison will be facing four charges of Misconduct for allegedly telling lies following the aftermath of the Hillsborough incident.
Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor for South Yorkshire Police, former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster are also charged with perverting the Court of justice.
Other than David Duckenfield, the others will appear at Warrington Magistrates’ Court on August 9, 2017.
The CPS Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, Sue Hemmings said: “Following our careful review of the evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to charge six individuals with criminal offences.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and the defendants have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Officer in general Command of Operation Resolve, Assistant Commissioner Rob Beckley, said: “The decision to prosecute Match Commander, David Duckenfield for the offence of Gross Negligence Manslaughter, and the then Secretary of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club PLC, Graham Mackrell for safety breaches, comes after the most detailed and substantial investigation there has ever been into the Hillsborough disaster.
“Our inquiry looked at all aspects of the event including the planning and the preparation for the game, the safety of the stadium and the response by the emergency services.
“Our inquiry has seen over 17,000 lines of enquiry and we have taken statements off over 11,000 people, from police officers, spectators, emergency personnel and officials from different organisations.
“From our enquiries we referred 12 individuals and 3 organisations to the CPS for them to consider whether any of these 15 should face criminal action. It was important to us that the CPS were an arbiter of our investigation applying independent judgement in relation to possible offences.
“Operation Resolve will now continue to work with the Crown Prosecution Service and Counsel as the case moves onto the next stage and we prepare for legal proceedings.
“Our work under the Police Reform Act and the allegations of police misconduct remains ongoing and whilst the criminal prosecutions are foremost in our mind, the publishing of these reports is a very important task for us as they provide a detailed account of the actions of the police on the day.
“We will continue to meet with families of the bereaved and where appropriate, support and assist them where possible. It is hugely important for me to stress the need for people to respect the criminal process that awaits us. People should be mindful that the case is now active and avoid prejudicing.”