Former South Yorkshire Police (SYP) chief superintendent David Duckenfield will face trial for the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 football fans at Hillsborough following a ruling by a judge.
The judge at Preston Crown Court on Friday lifted a stay on Duckenfield’s prosecution, which was imposed 18 years ago, and granted a voluntary bill of indictment to allow the prosecution against him to proceed. Four other men will also stand trial.
Duckenfield was the SYP match commander for the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool at Hillsborough. A crush on the Leppings Lane terrace resulted in 96 Liverpool supporters being fatally injured.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought the charges in June 2017 following an inquest that ruled fans were unlawfully killed at the home of Sheffield Wednesday.
Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of Tony Bland, the 96th victim, as he died four years after the incident occurred.
Duckenfield will be tried alongside Graham Mackrell from September 10. Mackrell, Sheffield Wednesday’s then club secretary and the officially designated safety officer for Hillsborough Stadium, faces two charges relating to safety at sports grounds, and health and safety.
Former chief superintendent Donald Denton, his then deputy, chief inspector Alan Foster, and then SYP solicitor Peter Metcalf are scheduled to go on trial in 2019 for charges of doing acts with intent to pervert the course of justice.
A judge at Preston CC today confirmed David Duckenfield will stand trial in relation to #Hillsborough later this year. The @cpsuk reminds all concerned it is extremely important there is no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which may prejudice proceedings. pic.twitter.com/jn43pF2wnu
— CPS (@cpsuk) June 29, 2018
Head of CPS special crime and counter-terrorism division Sue Hemming said: “The CPS will now continue preparations for the trial of David Duckenfield on 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.
“It is intended his case will be heard alongside that of Graham Mackrell at Preston Crown Court later this year.
“David Denton, Alan Foster and Peter Metcalf are scheduled to stand trial in 2019.
“May I again remind all concerned that criminal proceedings are under way and the defendants have the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
A hearing to determine whether Norman Bettison, the former SYP chief inspector, will be tried on four offences of misconduct in public office has been adjourned until August.
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