The Crown Prosecution Service has confirmed that it is to look into bringing criminal proceedings following this morning’s finding by the Hillsborough inquests that the 96 people who died in 1989 were ‘unlawfully killed’.
- Read Chris Horries’ on the Sun’s treatment of Hillsbrough (Truth about the Scum) from Proof Magazine
‘Following the inquest’s determinations the CPS team will continue to work closely with Operation Resolve and the Independent Police Complaints Commission as in due course, the CPS will formally consider whether any criminal charges should be brought against any individual or corporate body based upon all the available evidence, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors,’ said Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter terrorism division at the CPS.
Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham called the families’ fight for the truth ‘the greatest miscarriage of justice of our times’. ‘But, finally, it is over. After 27 long years, this is real justice for the 96, their families and all Liverpool supporters. The survivors of this tragedy can finally be remembered for what they were on that day – the heroes of Hillsborough who tried to help their fellow fans.’
The jury’s conclusions ‘completely vindicate the families’ long fight for justice’, commented Elkan Abrahamson and Marcia Stewart , the lawyers representing the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC) and Hillsborough Family Support Group.
‘It is now 27 years since the Hillsborough families found themselves thrown together by the appalling tragedy that led to the loss of their loved ones,’ they said in a statement. ‘At the outset, that and support for Liverpool FC was probably all they had in common. The intervening years have brought much greater commonality: the shock and dismay at the way they were treated in the aftermath; anger at the cover-up which started immediately following the disaster; frustration and disbelief at the deficiencies of both the legal and political processes which failed to deliver justice; and, above all, a constant and enduring tenacity and dedication to exposing the truth which has, despite all attempts to derail the process, stood firm over the decades.’
‘It is shameful that, rather than focussing on the search for truth and despite having made public apologies, the approach to the inquests taken by South Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service was to fight tooth and nail to avoid adverse findings by the jury. This turned the inquests into an adversarial battle that probably doubled the length of time it might otherwise have done.’
Elkan Abrahamson and Marcia Stewart
Abrahamson and Stewart said that there was ‘still a long road to travel.. ‘The recent investigations have already taken three years and we therefore now urge the authorities to conduct rigorous and speedy investigations which will lead to criminal and disciplinary proceedings and to the attribution of final and full accountability,’ they said.
The IPCC’s deputy chair, Rachel Cerfontyne, said that conclusion of the inquests was ‘another milestone’. ‘However the end of the inquests does not mark the end of the process.Our attention now focuses on concluding our criminal investigation into the aftermath of the disaster,’ she added.
Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon's books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council's journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year's Criminal Justice Alliance's journalism award