Hillsborough lawyers to demand fresh set of inquests into tragedy
LAWYERS acting on behalf of families of those killed in the Hillsborough disaster will write to the Attorney General today demanding that new inquests be held in Liverpool.
The Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) met at Anfield yesterday to discuss the next step in its campaign for justice for the 96 victims of the 1989 disaster. High-profile lawyers for the campaign, Michael Mansfield, QC, and Lord Falconer, appeared via an internet videolink.
Following the three-and-a-half hour meeting, Trevor Hicks and Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the HFSG, who lost her son James, 18, in the tragedy, gave a statement to the media in which they expressed their desire for the inquest verdicts to be overturned and new inquests to be held in Liverpool.
Mr Hicks, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, who lost daughters Vicky, 15, and Sarah, 19, in the disaster, said: “This goes beyond Hillsborough. What was exposed on Wednesday was a disgrace to the nation, not just the families… This goes across society and it’s important for society at large not to let this rest.”
A statement on behalf of the HFSG said: “The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel have finally vindicated the families in their 23-year struggle to establish the truth. However, after truth must come justice. We have spoken today to our lawyers and taken initial advice.
“As the families have always believed and insisted, it was the actions and inaction of those in authority that caused the deaths at Hillsborough on 15 April, 1989.
“The fans did not contribute to the tragedy. Any blame previously laid at their door has been shown to be part of a despicable conspiracy by those in authority to tarnish the reputations of the dead, the survivors of the disaster and the people of Liverpool. This conspiracy has been revealed for what it is: a bid to avoid accountability. Those responsible can avoid accountability no longer.”
The HFSG said it had instructed its lawyers to send letters out to “relevant parties”, including the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, to “ensure that the machinery of the justice system is put into motion and the families receive a fair hearing”.
The HFSG says there are now three avenues which it will “rigorously follow” in the search for justice: new inquests to be held in Liverpool and not Sheffield; a “full and immediate” investigation into criminal prosecutions to be brought against those responsible; and, where appropriate, families will apply for civil proceedings to be re-opened where they may have been dismissed or settled “on a false basis”. The statement also said the families strongly condemn the comments made this week by Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, Sir Norman Bettison, and describes the “monumental” scale of the wrongdoing and cover-up that will leave an “indelible stain on the reputations of those authorities in whom the public implicitly placed their trust.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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