Manslaughter prosecutions possible over Hillsborough disaster
PUBLISHED October 12, 2012
Senior police officers and officials in charge of the Hillsborough football stadium could face trial for manslaughter over the disaster that killed 96 fans, as well as the later cover-up, in the biggest ever inquiry into the police service.
The Director of Public Prosecutions has announced that he is looking at all the new evidence uncovered by last month's ground-breaking report into the 1989 tragedy, to see if it could support charges that the authorities' chaotic response led to lives being lost.
At the same time the Independent Police Complaints Commission could investigate as many as 200 officers from different forces over claims that they tried to deflect the blame for the fatal crush onto fans and altered their accounts, which could lead to charges of perverting the course of justice and perjury as well as misconduct hearings.
One of Britain's most senior policemen, Sir Norman Bettison, will be personally investigated over allegations that he tried to influence a police authority when it said his role should be looked at. But he will not fact sanctions for his "insensitive and inappropriate " recent comments about Liverpool supporters' behaviour.
Deborah Glass, deputy chairman of the IPCC, said on Friday morning she had "no doubt" it would be the largest independent investigation into police misconduct ever undertaken and that her organisation will need more money and staff to carry out the lengthy inquiry.
She said the 450,000 pages of new evidence raised "serious and troubling" questions for the police.
Keir Starmer, QC, the DPP, said: "I have concluded that the Crown Prosecution Service should consider all the material now available in relation to the tragic events on 15 April 1989, including the material made available by the Independent Panel.
"The purpose of this exercise is to identify what the focus of any further criminal investigation should be in order for the CPS to determine whether there is now sufficient evidence to charge any individual or corporate body with any criminal offence. All potential offences that may have been committed and all potential defendant will be considered."