Twelvepageguidetothelegalprocess,thekey figuresandwhatwecanexpectfromthehearings figuresandwhatwecanexpectfromthehearings
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE by ELEANOR BARLOW @eleanorbarlow
THE new inquests into the 96 deaths at Hillsborough will start today. The hearings are expected to go on at least until Christmas and could potentially last for up to a year. This week will start with the selection of the jury – expected to be sworn in on Tuesday. Coroner Lord Justice Goldring will then start the hearings with an opening statement and barristers for the 96 families and for the 16 other interested parties will also make opening comments. The counsel to the inquests – a team of six barristers led by Christina Lambert QC – will present the main evidence to the coroner. There will be a total of 86 legal representatives involved in the inquests. Twenty-six of these represent the families while 54 will represent the other interested parties in the case – these include organisations, such as South Yorkshire Police and the FA, and individuals such as retired superintendents David Duckenfield, Roger Greenwood and Roger Marshall. Counsel for the interested parties will be able to cross-examine controversial evidence put before the court. After the opening, the court will hear background statements or “pen portraits” on each of the 96 victims. The statements have been written by family members and will be read out either by them or by barristers on their behalf. They are intended to present a short biography of each victim to the jury. In one of the preliminary hearings counsel to the inquest Christina Lambert said the purpose of the statements was so the jury could “put the individuals very much at the centre of the inquests”. As each statement is read a photo of the victim will be shown on screens in the court. There will be a week’s break in the proceedings for the week starting April 14 for the 25th anniversary commemoration events to take place. A memorial service will be held at Anfield on April 15 to mark 25 years since the day of the Sheffield disaster. The reading of personal statements will continue when the court comes back after the break and is expected to finish around April 29. There will then be another break in the inquests for experts to analyse pathology reports. The break was called for by Judy Khan QC, representing the Hillsborough Family Support Group, last Thursday after she said there had been a delay in serving the
reports, which had been expected at the beginning of March. She asked for a three to four week break for the evidence to be reviewed. LJ Goldring agreed to an adjournment after the personal statements, but said the length of the break would be subject to discussion. When the hearings reconvene there will be a brief “uncontroversial” and factual account of the day’s events given.
The jury members will be taken on a site visit to the Hillsborough stadium. Their visit will take in the ground including the police control box, although it is now in a different position to where it was in 1989. Jurors will be also taken to the memorial at the ground but not allowed to read tributes there. They will be provided with a three-dimensional model of the stadium as it was in 1989 as well as
HOW THE ECHO WILL COVER THE INQUESTS
THE Liverpool ECHO has provided readers with coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy and its aftermath since the disaster on April 15, 1989. We will continue to provide you with in-depth coverage throughout the inquests. Our reporting team will be at the hearings every day to keep you updated with every step of
the process. Every day we’ll be providing: ● Live coverage of the proceedings on our website ● Regular updates online at lunchtime and early evening ● A summary of the key points from the day on our website every evening ● Coverage in every day’s ECHO
maps and photos. When the jury returns to court the first topic – stadium safety – will be introduced. The court will hear from an expert who will give a history of the stadium before giving his views on the safety of the ground. The next topic will be the preparation and planning ahead of the day itself and will be followed by evidence on the events of the day. Experts will be called to give evidence on pre-hospital emer-
gency care and policing on the day. The largest part of the inquests will deal with the individual cases of the 96. The jury will be asked to reach conclusions on each of the 96 deaths so this part of the inquests will be split into segments. Video compilations put together by officers from criminal investigation Operation Resolve will show each individual’s movements following their arrival at the stadium on April 15, 1989. Pathology reports prepared for each victim will cover their cause of death, the process leading to their death and, if possible, the prospect of their survival. The inquests will be held in a venue in Birchwood Place, Warrington , which was converted specifically for the purpose of holding the hearings. The 15,000 sq ft building houses the courtroom, consulting rooms for interested parties and their legal teams to use and an annexe where press and relatives can watch the proceedings in the court via television screens.
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
MONTHS TO COME What is an inquest?
The Hillsborough Inquests are being held at 305 Bridgewater Place, Birchwood Park, Warrington
THE purpose of an inquest is to find out who died, when and where they died, how they died and in what circumstances. Inquests are fact-finding exercises – there are no formal allegations or pleadings and they do not apportion blame. There are a number of verdicts available in an inquest. They include natural causes, accident or misadventure, unlawful killing or neglect. A narrative verdict can also be recorded – setting out the how the death came about – or an open verdict – where there is not enough evidence to draw a conclusion and the case is left open until more evidence appears. In an inquest the jury must reach its verdict on the balance of probabilities, meaning the evidence suggests it is more likely than not. But, if it finds a verdict of unlawful killing it must be proved beyond all reasonable doubt – which is the criminal standard of proof. There are no prosecution or defence barristers at an inquest, but witnesses may be represented by lawyers. Interested persons, or their legal representatives, are permitted to ask questions. The coroner decides who the interested persons in an inquest are. They can include family members of the deceased, anyone whose action or failure to act might have contributed to the death, and representatives of enforcing authorities or Government departments. Witnesses in inquests are not obliged to answer any questions that might incriminate themselves. The coroner will inform witnesses they can refuse to answer questions when they think they might cause the witnesses to incriminate themselves.
How will the jury be formed and who will be selected? MORE than 1,000 jury summons were sent out to members of the public ahead of the Hillsborough Inquests. Those who received one were also asked to fill in questionnaires when. Questions included whether they or any family members or
close friends had ever worked or volunteered for any police force. Potential jurors were also asked whether they were supporters of Liverpool or Sheffield Wednesday football clubs. Some of the 1,000 who were sent summons were excluded
following the questionnaire. The original jury pool was whittled down to about 150. They will be called to the court in Birchwood Park, Warrington, today. Of those 150, 21 will be selected at random. They will be given a list of
witnesses to establish whether any are known to them and the answers on their questionnaire may be queried by the coroner or barristers. Eleven of the 21 will make up the jury while 10 will sit on a reserve panel. They will all listen to the
opening proceedings in case any of the official jury have to be excused from the panel and need replacing. After the opening, the reserve panel will be dismissed. The jury will be told to prepare for the inquests to go on for potentially a year.
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
KEY FIGURES AND Christina Lambert QC – Counsel to the inquests Coroner Lord Justice Goldring appointed counsel to the inquests because of the complexity of the case. Christina Lambert leads the team of five barristers. She was called to the bar in 1988 and became a QC in 2009. She specialises in clinical negligence and professional regulation law. She was leading counsel in the Dame Janet Smith Review – launched in 2012 by the BBC – to establish the cultures and practices while Jimmy Savile worked there. The publication of the review has been postponed until the middle of this year when criminal proceedings against Stuart Hall are concluded. The other counsel to the inquests include Jon Hough, Matthew Hill, Paul Reynolds, Anthony Jones.
Michael Mansfield QC – Hillsborough Family Support Group Self described “radical lawyer” Michael Mansfield has worked on the inquests of Mark Duggan, Charles de Menezes, Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed and Stephen Lawrence. He also represented the Lawrence family at the judicial public inquiry into matters arising from the teenager’s death. He defended three miners in the Battle of Orgreave – a confrontation between miners and police in South Yorkshire in 1984. He was called to the bar in 1967 and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1989.
He is president of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and a professor of law at City University. The dad-of-six is also a patron of animal welfare organisation Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva!). The Hillsborough Family Support Group is also represented by Jo Delahunty QC, Judy Khan QC, Leslie Thomas, Nick Brown, Patrick Roche, Chris Williams, Rajiv Menon QC, Sean Horsted and Marcia Willis Stewart.
She is particularly known for her actions against police and is co-author of textbook Police Misconduct: Legal Remedies. She also has extensive experience in discrimination cases and represented TV presenter Miriam O’Reilly in her successful age discrimination claim against the BBC. Caolfhionn Gallagher and Lawrence Barker also represent the family.
Terry Munyard – Pete Weatherby the families of – Hillsborough Arthur Horrocks Justice Campaign and Patrick Human rights lawyer Pete Thompson Weatherby represented Liv-
erpool fan Michael Shields, who was wrongly convicted of murder in Bulgaria and in 2009 became the only person ever to receive a UK pardon in respect of a foreign conviction. Mr Weatherby specialises in international human rights, international and EU law including extradition, cases involving miscarriages of justice and protest cases. He represented the family of 15-year-old Jessie James, who was shot dead in a Manchester park, at his inquest. Also on the legal team are Mark George QC, Kate Stone, Henrietta Hill, Andy Fitzpatrick, Elkan Abrahamson, Anna Williams, Sean McCann, Adam Shawcross and Anthony Higham.
Heather Williams QC – The family of John McBrien Heather Williams, who was called to the bar in 1985, specialises in civil liberties and human rights cases.
Terry Munyard acts in areas including terrorist cases, public order and political activist cases. He was instrumental in decriminalising gay relationships in Scotland and Northern Ireland and was one of the first to publish articles on the employment rights of people with HIV and AIDS. He has worked on many inquests, including representing the family and fashion house of Alexander McQueen in 2010. Ruth Bundey is also on the legal team.
Andrew O’Connor – IPCC Andrew O’Connor has previously worked on high profile inquests including the 7/7 bombings. He represented the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and
LORD JUSTICE GOLDRING – Coroner LORD Justice John Bernard Goldring is one of the most experienced judges in the country and served as the senior presiding judge of England and Wales from January 2010 until December 2012. He was formally appointed an assistant deputy coroner in February 2013, specifically for the purpose of conducting the inquests into the deaths of the 96 fans in the Sheffield disaster. He was appointed by the South Yorkshire (East) coroner to conduct the inquests into the 95 deaths at Hillsborough and by the West Yorkshire (West) Coroner to conduct the inquest into the death of Tony Bland, who later died of injuries he sustained at Hillsborough. Lord Justice Goldring was called to the Bar in 1969 and became a QC in 1987. He was appointed a high court judge in December 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 he was presiding judge of the Midland circuit. In 2006 he sat on the trial of brothers Ricky and
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the inquest into the death of spy Gareth Williams. He has represented the IPCC before at the inquest of Ian Tomlinson, who died after he was pushed by police at the G20 protests in London. The IPCC is also represented by Dominic Adamson and Helen Wood.
Sam Leek QC – Operation Resolve - criminal investigation into Hillsborough Sam Leek QC regularly appears in high profile inquests and public inquiries on behalf of police forces, the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and other government departments. She worked on the inquest
Danny Preddie, who were convicted of the manslaughter of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor. He was appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal and deputy senior presiding judge in October 2008 and senior presiding judge in January 2010. In 2012 he hit the headlines after issuing guidance on blogging to members of judiciary. He said they should not identify themselves as members of the judiciary and also avoid expressing controversial opinions. In his opening remarks at the first Hillsborough preliminary hearing he said: “The purpose of these inquests is to examine fully and fairly how each of the victims of this terrible disaster lost his or her life. “The inquests will seek to ensure so far as possible that the full facts are brought to light. “However it should not be forgotten that an inquest is a fact finding investigation. It is not a method of apportioning guilt.”
of Mark Duggan – whose shooting by police prompted riots in 2012 – representing the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which had provided the intelligence on which the surveillance operation was based. She represented the Metropolitan Police at the inquest into Ian Tomlinson’s death after the G20 protests and their firearms unit at the inquest of Jean Charles De Menezes – shot by police after he was mistaken for a bombing suspect. David Sandiford and Siobhan Mullins also represent the operation.
Fiona Barton QC – South Yorkshire Police Fiona Barton QC practises exclusively in police law and has represented most of the
forces in England and Wales. She represented the City of London Police in inquests into the 7/7 bombings and Cumbria Police at the inquests into the death of Derrick Bird and his shooting victims. She also acted for the King Edward Vll Hospital in the inquest into the death of the nurse who was victim of a prank call from an Australian radio station concerning the Duchess of Cambridge. The legal team also includes Matthew Holdcroft and Naomi McMaster.
Paul Greaney QC – Police Federation Paul Greaney QC practises in areas including serious crime, disciplinary proceedings, inquests and police law. He has previously represented the Football Associ-
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
WHO THEY ARE Lord Justice John Goldring who the Coroner for the Hillsborough inquests
and others, and in the proceedings brought against Wayne Rooney's agent Paul Stretford. He also acted for them in their investigation of the racist remarks made by John Terry. Lee Bennett and Jon Ellis are also on the legal team.
He practises in the fields of serious crime, commercial fraud and professional discipline. He acted for former England captain John Terry when he was acquitted of racially abusing footballer Anton Ferdinand. The legal team also includes Ian Lewis and Graham Small.
Michael Mylonas QC – Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
Barnabas Branston – West Midlands Police He practises in the areas of police law, inquests, health and safety, public and administrative law and personal injury law. He represented the City of London Police in the inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 demonstration in 2009. Shanaz Anwar and Jeremy Johnson also represent the force.
ation in the case against Luis Suarez, after his alleged racial abuse of Manchester United player Patrice Evra, and in proceedings brought against Everton FC after an unauthorised approach to Nottingham Forest player Jamaal Lascelles, where the club was fined £45,000. Sam Green, Nick Holroyd and Paul Aspinall also represent the federation.
Guy Gozem QC – DCC Hayes and ACC Anderson
Experienced in criminal law and has dealt regularly with murder, gross negligence manslaughter, and serious sexual allegations; he is also instructed by leading Fraud Panel Solicitors in lengthy commercial fraud cases and regulatory work. Brought up in Wythenshawe, Manchester, he describes his interests as music, travel and football. Andrew Nuttall, Jonathan Wall and David Hanman are also on the legal team.
James Maxwell Scott – Sheffield City Council
His practice covers all forms
of legal proceedings arising out of incidents resulting in personal injury or death. He has been involved in the Hutton Inquiry, the Shipman Inquiry and the BSE Inquiry. Natalie Barton will also represent the council.
involves representing police forces. He was called to the Bar in 1989 and became a QC in 2009. The legal team also includes Ian Lewis and Graham Small.
Jenni Richards QC – Yorkshire Ambulance Service She has represented individuals, public bodies and public interest groups in all areas of public law and regulation. Her expertise includes local government, human rights, mental health, health and social care, financial services, education, prison law and immigration/asylum. Caroline Balfour and Steve Page are also on the legal team.
Alexander Stein – South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Anne Studd QC Service – St John He practises in crime, coronial law, intellectual property, Ambulance regulatory and licensing law.
John Beggs QC Jonathan Laidlaw QC – FA Specialising in criminal – Retired His present instructions also fraud and financial offences, superintendents include representing former he regularly prosecutes and defends health and safety and David Duckenfield, editor of The Sun Rebekah fire safety cases Brooks in her ongoing trial Rachel Lyne will also repRoger Greenwood and acting for Norwegian company, Statoil, in the in- resent the service. and Roger Marshall quest following the terrorist Chris Daw QC – attack at the In Amenas facilDescribed in Chambers and ity in Algeria. Retired chief Partners 2013 as “indisputHe has represented the FA ably the lead QC to go to if before in crowd control cases superintendents you’re a police force in a tight brought against Liverpool spot”, a large part of his work FC, Chelsea FC, West Ham FC Terry Wain and
She has widespread experience of all aspects of police law and has worked on inquests including the hearing into the death of Jean Charles De Menezes, who was killed by police after he was wrongly identified as a bombing suspect. She describes her interests as gardening and chickens. The legal team also includes Jonathan Dixey and Sinead Lester.
He is an expert in clinical negligence, the Court of Protection and discipline and regulatory law. He holds a pilot’s licence and a British Racing Driver’s licence. He is a member of the Hurlingham Polo Association and has advised and represented sportsmen before a variety of disciplinary bodies. The hospitals will also be represented by Kiran Bhogal.
Jason Beer QC – Sheffield Wednesday Football Club He practises in public law and police law. As well as the Hillsborough inquests, his current caseload includes acting for the Metropolitan Police Service in the phone hacking claims. He acted for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and represented a Government department in the Harold Shipman Inquiry. Kieran Walshe and Jayne Bamford will also represent the club.
■ THE Director of Public Prosecutions is also registered as an interested party but will not be represented by counsel at the inquests. She will be represented by deputy head of special crime for the Crown Prosecution Service Malcolm McHaffie and special crime lawyer Neil Dalton.
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
A SUMMARY OF HOW W
The first preliminary hearing, Thursday April 25, 2013
Lord Justice Goldring, who had been appointed to act as coroner, said fresh inquests into the deaths of the 96 Hillsborough victims would be held early in 2014 – as a dispute grew between two campaign groups over the location. The High Court in London heard how members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG) voted by a majority for the inquests to be held in the capital, but this was opposed by the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC). Their members, like the HFSG, were against the inquests being held in Liver-
Margaret Aspinall, centre, and Jenni Hicks, right, speaking outside the high court after the verdict when a lawyer representing the Police Federation of England and Wales pressed for the inquests to be adjourned until after criminal investigations. The hearing was also told
Charlotte Hennessy (far left), lost her father James at Hillsborough, when she was aged 6, with left to right, Ian Barnes, Tony O'Keefe and Phil Rowan at Court 80, High Holborn, London pool and said they would prefer Chester, Preston or Warrington. Michael Mansfield, the QC representing families from the HFSG, made an impassioned case for London. But Pete Weatherby QC, representing the HJC, called for venues in the North West to be considered. Lord Justice Goldring indicated he would hand down a decision of where the inquests would be held the following week (he decided they would be held in the North West and then, later in the year, he announced they would take place in Warrington). Counsel for the inquests – a group of lawyers acting impartially to assist the judge – recommended the inquests should start before separate criminal investigations are complete. Christina Lambert QC revealed it could take until 2016 for the inquests to begin if they were deferred. Mr Mansfield warned of a six-year delay if possible criminal appeals were taken into account. There were gasps in court
that key medical evidence and stadium safety would feature heavily at the inquests and two forensic pathologists would be in court.
The second preliminary hearing, Wednesday June 5, 2013
A lawyer for three police chiefs on duty on the day of the disaster claimed the Hillsborough Independent Panel report into the tragedy had “an agenda”. Barrister John Beggs QC said the panel – led by Bishop of Liverpool James Jones – should not be considered truly independent as it had dealt with campaign groups which acted for families and survivors. Mr Beggs, on behalf of the Police Superintendents’ Association, was representing Hillsborough match commander Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and
then-colleagues Roger Marshall and Roger Greenwood. He said relying on the report could hamper the independence of the inquest and other investigations. The barrister said the fact the report itself said it was produced in conjunction with groups including the HFSG and HJC showed it had “an agenda”. The claim was roundly condemned by campaigners who attended the hearing. Meanwhile coroner Lord Justice Goldring set a provisional start date for the inquests of March 31, 2014.
The third preliminary hearing, Monday October 7, 2013
Hillsborough families called for action after it was claimed video evidence shot by police on the day of the disaster may have been edited. The hearing was told an internationally-recognised expert was concerned handheld camera footage taken by officers could have been altered. Relatives of victims called for the issue to be examined as part of the investigation by
the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the alleged cover-up. The details emerged in evidence given by Pete Weatherby QC, speaking on behalf of families from the HJC. He told the hearing it was vital that the footage considered at the inquests was as reliable as possible. The footage was understood to be related to one handheld camera operated by an officer on duty on the day of the Liverpool-Nottingham Forest semi-final. Michael Mansfield QC, speaking for families from the HFSG, said he also believed there were concerns over footage which had been in the hands of the police. Mr Weatherby said an audio visual expert should be among the experts giving evidence to the inquests, which so far included a structural engineer, a number of pathologists and an authority on policing. He also called for close checks on the quality of the recordings, as a family member’s own copy of some footage had been significantly better than the version provided initially to the inquests. The difference in quality, according to Mr Weatherby, had meant one victim had initially been misidentified in the process of tracking their movements through the crowd on the day of the disaster. Lead counsel to the inquests Christina Lambert QC indicated that the hearings would look at the vital question, raised by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, of how many victims could have survived given a different emergency response. In his submission, Mr Mansfield said he expected proceedings to take six months, though they could go on as long as nine months, raising the prospect of continuing beyond 2014.
Evelyn McDonnell holding a photograph of her brother Peter, alongside her niece Catherine Foster
Paddy Shennan repor pre-inquest hearings w between the quashing and today’s opening of
The fourth preliminary hearing, Monday December 16, 2013 Families learned that 13 retired officers had refused to be interviewed after their statements were found to have been altered. And it was also revealed that 10 minutes of footage from the disaster was missing from police tapes. The IPCC had called 240 officers for interview after finding their statements on the tragedy had been altered. Of those, 13 retired officers had refused and six had not responded. Lord Justice Goldring ruled that the names of the officers refusing to co-operate must be disclosed. Andrew O’Connor, counsel for the IPCC, had told the hearing the names could not
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
WE GOT TO THIS POINT
rts on the six which took place g of the original verdicts f the new inquests
be released for operational reasons. But Lord Justice Goldring said: “It is perfectly straightforward. The identities will be disclosed to me and, if relevant, that information will be passed to interested persons.” He asked for the names of all 240 officers whose statements had been altered to be disclosed to him, before he decided whether it was appropriate to pass them on to interested parties. Chris Williams, representing families in the HFSG, called for the names of the officers who were refusing to cooperate to be disclosed. He said: “It’s important for us to identify at an early stage who these people are.” Pete Weatherby, QC, representing families from the HJC, said he had concerns about two of the tapes filmed by officers. He said there was “an unexplained 10-minute gap” in one of the 20-minute tapes. And he said the second tape, which he expected to show continuous footage, in-
cluded film from the first tape. He asked the coroner to allow an expert to copy the tapes and analyse them. Samantha Leek, QC, representing Operation Resolve – the criminal investigation into the disaster – said there was “no objection in principle” to allowing the tapes to be copied, but there were issues about the fragility of the tapes. Lord Justice Goldring said transcripts of recorded interviews with former and serving officers should be made. He also agreed to calls for the inquests not to sit on the week of April 14 so families could mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster on April 15. Terry Munyard, representing two families, asked the coroner to consider putting back the start date until after Easter to avoid breaks at early stages in the process. But Lord Justice Goldring said the inquests would go ahead on March 31. The coroner also said he agreed with requests for conference facilities to be available in a building near to where the inquests are being held after some of the families’ lawyers raised concerns. Christina Lambert, QC, lead counsel for the inquests, said “very substantial progress” had been made since the last hearing. She said 68,000 pages of material, including 160 witness statements, had been disclosed and a “considerable volume” of new material would be revealed in the new year. She added that BBC footage of the disaster had been disclosed and 3,000 still images would be digitised. And she said evidence on toxicology was not thought to be relevant to the hearing: “Our present view is that the levels of blood alcohol are not relevant to the cause of the disaster or individual causes of death.” But Mr Weatherby said the jury could be “considerably misled” if there was no toxicology evidence: “We hear and we support the assertion made by your own counsel that the alcohol issue is not relevant to cause or causes of death. “However, that may not be something that some of the witnesses understand. In the course of preparing this case, it has become quite apparent that a number of witnesses refer to intoxicated people. The only objective evidence of alcohol comes from toxicology.”
The families arrive for the hearings, including Teresa Glover, centre
The fifth preliminary hearing, Wednesday February 5, 2014 Senior police officers will accuse Liverpool fans of drunken behaviour at the Hillsborough disaster, the latest hearing was told. Families shouted “disgrace” at John Beggs QC, representing match commander David Duckenfield and ground commanders Roger Greenwood and Roger Marshall, as he said he would be making the suggestion that the drunkenness of supporters contributed to the disaster. Andrew Nuttall, representing former Deputy Chief Constable Peter Hayes and Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Anderson, said: “The levels of blood alcohol of the deceased are not relevant to either the cause of deaths or the cause of the disaster; however, our position, like that of the match commanders, in relation to spectators, is that we do feel it’s relevant and we will be pursuing that case.” Paul Greaney QC, representing the Police Federation, said he did not anticipate making the suggestion that
the blood alcohol levels of the victims played any part in the disaster, but he said he did not want to steer witnesses away from talking about alcohol consumption. He said: “The idea of taking witnesses away from evidence that they have to give about drink, in particular in relation to other supporters, in particular later attendants, is unattractive.”
those circumstances we believe this evidence is the only objective evidence of alcohol use.” Mr Beggs also called for a jury visit to the stadium not to include the police control box. He said the stadium’s box, where David Duckenfield was based for the match, was different “in just about every conceivable way” to how it had been in 1989. But Lord Justice Goldring said the visit to the control box would be included: “The visit will at least give some, albeit vague, impression of being in a small structure in the general area of where the box was.”
The sixth preliminary hearing, Thursday March 27
The final pre-inquest hearing was held at Birchwood Park, Warrington – where the in-
Donna Miller holding a photograph of her brother Paul Carlile, who lost his life Pete Weatherby QC, representing families from the HJC, said they had commissioned a report on the blood alcohol levels of the victims and added: “The difficulty that we foresee and the reason we commissioned the report is that some interested parties might seek to highlight or rely on intoxication issues regarding not the deceased but supporters. In
Steve Kelly, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, outside Liverpool Crown Court, where the hearings were shown on a TV screen
quests themselves will be held. Lord Justice Goldring said the new inquests would start on time despite delays involving some evidence. The late receipt of pathology reports caused lawyers to express concerns, but the coroner ruled that the March 31 start date – in place for almost a year – would be met. As a result, there will be a period of time set aside for the analysis of the pathology reports after the initial parts of the inquests – which will include personal statements from relatives of each of the 96 victims – have taken place. Lord Justice Goldring said: “It seems I have to decide between the interests of the families and the interests of the jury, and I have decided the families will prevail. “We will begin on time and have a break after the personal statements.”
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
A GUIDE TO WHO’S Row four second left: The legal team for retired chief superintendents Terry Wain and Donald Denton
Row four third left: The legal team for Deputy Chief Constable Peter Hayes and Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Anderson
Back row left: The legal team for the Football Association
Front row left: The legal team representing families from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign (HJC)
Row two left: The legal team representing the Hillsborough Family Support Group
Back row second left: The legal team for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
Back row third left: The legal team for South Yorkshire Police
Row four left:The legal team for the match commanders retired superintendents David Duckenfield, Roger Greenwood and Roger Marshall Row three left: The legal team representing the Hillsborough Family Support Group Row three second left: The legal team for the family of John McBrien
Row two right: The legal team representing the families of Arthur Horrocks and Patrick Thompson
Front row right: Counsel to the inquests
Back row centre: The legal team for West Midlands Police
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
WHO IN THE COURT
Back row third right: The legal team for police watchdog the IPCC
Back row second right: The legal team for Operation Resolve - the criminal investigation into Hillsborough
Back row right: The legal team for the Director of Public Prosecutions
Row four third right: The legal team for Yorkshire Ambulance Service Row four second right: The legal team for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Row four right: The legal team for St John Ambulance
The jury Row three Right: The legal team for Sheffield City Council Row three second right: The legal team for Sheffield Wednesday Football Club Coroner Lord Justice Goldring
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
FIRST INQUESTS AND
Anne Williams chats to Andy Burnham on the day the original verdicts were quashed
Paddy Shennan recalls the first inquests at Sheffield Town Hall back in 1990
THE longest inquests in British legal history began at Sheffield Town Hall on Monday November 19, 1990. Sheffield coroner Dr Stefan Popper had originally opened the inquests on April 18, 1990, and they were adjourned on May 4, 1990, pending an investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The DPP eventually decided not to bring any criminal charges and so the inquests were reconvened. It was originally expected that the hearings would take just six weeks. The coroner arrived at the Town Hall flanked by Mervyn Jones, Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police and the man who led the police investigation into the Hillsborough disaster. Inside the council chamber was a model of the Hillsborough stadium and a large video screen. Former Reds
manager Bob Paisley sat in the public gallery with club vice-chairman Sydney Moss. The verdicts open to the jury included accidental death, death by misadventure and death by unlawful killing. At the end of the inquests the jury would return verdicts on the then 95 victims (on March 3, 1993, Tony Bland, 22, died, becoming the 96th and final victim of the disaster. He had suffered severe brain damage, leaving him in a persistent-vegetative state. Airedale Hospital in Yorkshire, supported by Tony’s parents, Allan and Barbara, won a landmark High Court
ruling allowing the withdrawal of hydration and artificial nutrition treatment). Back in Merseyside, a campaign to force prosecutions was launched on the day the inquests restarted by the Hillsborough Working Party, which comprised bereaved families, survivors, Liverpool City Council representatives, the Football Supporters Association and Liverpool MPs. On Thursday March 28, 1991 – after sitting through more than 600 hours of evidence – the jury of seven men and four women returned verdicts of acci-
Sheffield Coroner Dr Stefan Popper
dental death on the then 95 victims of the disaster. A moving rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone was sung by tearful relatives at the end of the inquests, and an emotional press conference was held. The hearings, meanwhile, would enter the record books as the longest and most expensive inquests in British legal history. The cost of the 80-day hearing was estimated at almost £1.5m, while the 47 bereaved families legally represented faced a bill of £150,000. This was on top of their own travelling costs and other expenses they paid to attend the hearings. There had been up to 11 barristers, together with supporting solicitors, at the inquests, while 234 witnesses gave evidence and a team of four shorthand writers took down every word.
The day when the original inquest verdicts were quashed. Paddy Shennan reports
ON Wednesday December 19, 2012, Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC went to the Royal Courts of Justice in London to explain to the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Igor Judge, and two other judges why he believed the original Hillsborough inquest verdicts should be quashed. It was nearly 21 years and nine months since the verdicts had been returned at Sheffield Town Hall after the longest and most expensive inquests in British legal history. But, in the end, it took fewer than 90 minutes for these verdicts to be quashed. More than 40 families who lost loved ones in the disaster travelled to London for the historic hearing. They included the late Anne Williams – who tragically lost her battle with cancer the following April – Margaret Aspinall, the current chair of the Hillsbor-
Monday, March 31, 2014
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS
None of us journalists knew how events would evolve
Janet Tansley, who reported on the original inquests, recalls the 1990 hearings
Family members outside The Royal Courts of Justice
Bob Paisley was at the 1990 inquest
Trevor Hicks, Margaret Aspinall and Jenni Hicks, left to right, speak to the media as they leave the High Court ough Family Support Group; its first chairman, Trevor Hicks; Jenni Hicks; and Donna Miller, who, clutching a picture of her brother, Paul Carlile, who died in the disaster, aged 19, shouted: “Thank you, Your Honour.” Also in attendance were Merseyside MPs Maria Eagle, Steve Rotheram, Luciana Berger, Alison McGovern and George Howarth and Liverpool-born Leigh MP Andy Burnham – who addressed the
20th anniversary Hillsborough memorial service at Anfield. Court room number five was packed and seats were at such a premium that some journalists had to sit in the dock, while some family members watched a live video feed in courtroom nine. Soon after 10.30am, the
Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC
Attorney General addressed the court, followed by Michael Mansfield, QC, who was representing 71 families. Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge later retired to consider his verdict. Barely a couple of minutes later, he was back in the court room. He granted the application to quash the original verdicts and said he wanted the new inquests held as soon as possible. And he paid tribute to the families, saying: “We must record our admiration and respect for their determined search for the truth about the circumstances of the disaster and why and how it had occurred, which – despite disappointments and setbacks – has continued for nearly a quarter of a century.” The Lord Chief Justice also said that he wanted the new inquests to be held in a nonadversarial way.
Sheila Coleman punches the air after the original verdicts were quashed
ITS dark panelled walls have echoed to the sound of many an argument between political parties but on November 19, 1990, Sheffield Town Hall’s council chamber was host to a more sombre event than any planning meeting. As one of the journalists who covered the inquests of those who died as a result of Hillsborough, almost 24 years have passed, but the sobriety of the occasion is planted firmly still in my mind. The Town Hall had seemed a fitting place for such an investigation. Officially opened on 21st May, 1897 by Queen Victoria, the building was grand and stately, as seemed to befit the importance of what was about to unfold all those years ago. Reporters like myself sat in the public gallery, perched high above the oak lined chamber, so we had a bird’s eye view. The chair used by the Lord Mayor was set under a carved oak pediment, which bore the City Coat of Arms, supported by four oak lonic pillars. For the inquests, however, the seat was filled by coroner Dr Stefan Popper. In the bench in front of the chair a carved centre-piece depicted two children rising from tree branches bearing the legend ‘Work while it is day’, behind which was a bell, taken from the last tram of Sheffield after its final journey in 1960. I remember thinking how daunting and overwhelming it must have seemed for the witnesses who came through its doors day after day; even those celebrity presenters, used to the pressure of television and live sporting events. We reporters stared down at those who gave evidence to a hearing which was due, initially to last just six weeks. Emotions were high. And we could imagine their grief and pain. A hush would fall on the chamber when loved ones relived the final minutes of those close to them, their friends or fellow supporters. We heard their anguish yet we hastily had to scribble information down, to catch each piece of information for a jigsaw, the pieces for which would never actually fit. For all the emotional trauma, there was a sense, too, of a ‘process’ being carried out as smoothly and seamlessly – maybe even as swiftly – as it could be. The inquests and subsequent verdicts would be, we believed, the final chapter. None of us knew at the time how events would evolve.
THE HILLSBOROUGH INQUESTS A graphic showing part of the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough stadium as it looked on April 15, 1989. As crowds built up outside police opened a gate. Fans, who could have been diverted into pens on either side of the goal which had plenty of room, then headed for the tunnel entrance straight ahead. The police control room can be seen in the corner between the South Stand and the Leppings Lane end.
Published on Mar 31, 2014