I was frightened, absolutely frightened that we were going to be let down again. It's so very hard to fight for justice over the period of time that the families have had to fight.
The full charges
- David Duckenfield, who was the Match Commander for South Yorkshire Police on the day of the disaster has been charged with the manslaughter of 95 people.
- Graham Henry Mackrell, who was Sheffield Wednesday Football Club's company secretary and safety officer at the time of the disaster in 1989, has been charged with breaching the teams of the ground’s safety certificate and failing to take reasonable care under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
- Peter Metcalf, the solicitor acting for the South Yorkshire Police during the Taylor Inquiry and the first inquests, has been charged with doing acts with intent to pervert the course of public justice relating to material changes made to witness statements.
- Former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton of South Yorkshire Police is charged similarly to Peter Metcalf.
- Former Detective Chief Inspector Alan Foster of South Yorkshire Police is charged similarly to Peter Metcalf and Donald Denton.
- Norman Bettison, another former officer with South Yorkshire Police, has been charged with four counts of misconduct in public office relating to telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans.
Duckenfield and the 96th victim
Former Chief Superintendent of South Yorkshire Police David Duckenfield arrives to give evidence to the Hillsborough Inquest in Warrington, northern England March 10, 2015 (Reuters)
Image credit: Reuters
We will allege that David Duckenfield's failures to discharge his personal responsibility were extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives.
We are unable to charge the manslaughter of Anthony Bland, the 96th casualty, as he died almost four years later. The law as it applied then provided that no person could be guilty of homicide where the death occurred more than a year and a day later than the date when the injuries were caused.
Family members of victims of the Hillsborough react outside Parr Hall in Warrington
Image credit: Reuters
Bettison's 'abuse of the public’s trust'
Given his role as a senior police officer, we will ask the jury to find that this was misconduct of such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in the office holder.
Who wasn't charged
I have decided not to prosecute the company which was the legal entity of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club at the time as it only now exists on paper. There are no directors or others listed who form the company and therefore no-one who can give instructions to answer any criminal charge or enter a plea. Even if the company were to be prosecuted and found guilty in these circumstances, there could be no penalty as it does not have any assets with which to pay a fine.
For legal reasons, we cannot prosecute the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service and there is insufficient evidence of a criminal offence against the two most senior employees referred for consideration. There is, however, sufficient evidence of a health and safety breach against one junior ambulance employee, although it is 'non causative' which means that it cannot be directly connected to any particular death. As we cannot prosecute the ambulance service or the more senior employees and the offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine, I have decided that it is not in the public interest to prosecute the junior officer after this significant period of time when the likely outcome would be a nominal penalty.
Finally, in relation to Operation Resolve, the Football Association (FA) was also considered in relation to the day's events. Its conduct was assessed against the Safety of Sports Grounds Act and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. While I considered that it was a 'responsible person' for the purposes of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act, there was insufficient evidence to establish that any breach of the safety certificate could be placed within the responsibility of that organisation, and thereby raise a burden on it as a defendant to establish a due diligence. Equally, for the purposes of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the evidence did not establish that, in the conduct of its undertaking, the FA contributed to a material risk to safety. As a result, in each instance, there was not a realistic prospect of a conviction against them. In the particular circumstances, it also followed that there was insufficient evidence against any employee of that organisation under either Act.