|The inquest Court at Warrington|
Update 2 - South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner - Suspension of Chief Constable
Update 3 - The Guardian 28th April - Hillsborough Families commence legal action
"It would have been more seemly and encouraging for the future if responsibility had been faced" - Lord Justice Taylor - Interim report at para. 285
Anyone who has followed the Hillsborough Inquest should undoubtedly endorse all that was said in court as the inquest closed - Hillsborough Inquest 26th April 2016. Sir John Goldring - Assistant Coroner for South Yorkshire (East) and West Yorkshire (West) - said:
"I suspect I speak for most when I say how hugely impressed we have been. Sitting on a jury for this length of time, in such a demanding and at times deeply moving case, is to perform a public service of the very highest order. It is very important, indeed, that decisions in matters such as the Hillsborough disaster are taken not by lawyers, but by members of the public, such as you. I thank you very much, indeed."
The focus is now turned on to Operation Resolve the on-going criminal investigation into Hillsborough. This investigation was set up by the Home Secretary in 2012 following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report. The aim is to undertake a thorough investigation into the events leading up to and including the disaster. Fuller details of the areas under investigation are set out on the Resolve website.
Further focus is on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation.
The IPCC's investigation is examining whether or not the following offences were committed:
- Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
- Perverting the course of justice
- Misconduct in public office.
It is expected that these investigations will continue at least until the end of 2016. After that, the focus will shift to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which will have to consider whether any prosecutions will actually be instigated. In making that decision, the CPS will have to apply the FULL CODE TEST. In other words, the CPS will consider the detailed law governing all relevant offences and all the available evidence relating to the conduct of individuals and corporate bodies. Even if the CPS considers that there is sufficient evidence on which to base a prosecution of an individual or body, the CPS must then go on to decide whether a prosecution would be in the public interest.
It would be rash and unwise at this stage to try to even hazard a guess as to what the outcome of these processes may be. All that is for the future and this blog will try to keep abreast of any developments.
Whether there will be any further civil litigation is unclear. The Hillsborough Independent report Chapter 7 considered the civil litigation that had taken place prior to the report.
The litigation following Hillsborough led to some important developments in the law. These will be the subject of a later post.
The Guardian 28th April - Hillsborough Families commence legal action