UK court quashes Hillsborough disaster verdicts

Families of 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death at the Hillsborough football stadium in 1989 welcomed a British court decision Wednesday to quash accidental death verdicts from the disaster, but say their fight is far from over.

High Court judges annulled the inquest verdicts delivered in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and called for fresh inquests to be held, while police also launched a new investigation.

"If there is sufficient evidence to bring charges against those who were in the wrong, then they have to be held accountable in law," said Barry Devonshire, whose 18-year-old son Christopher perished in the tragedy.

"I am not on a witch-hunt and I don't want people locked up for the sake of it, but if there is evidence, they should be before a court."

The move followed the publication of a damning independent report in September which concluded that 41 of the 96 people who died would have had the "potential to survive" if they had received medical treatment more quickly.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report also found that police tried to divert blame for the tragedy on to the victims.

It said that 164 police statements had been changed, 116 of them to remove or alter "unfavourable" accounts about the police handling of the crisis, which was the worst sporting disaster in British history.

The fatal crush was caused by huge overcrowding on a terrace at Hillsborough Stadium in the northern English city of Sheffield prior to an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

The new inquest and separate police investigation represent a huge victory for the families of the Hillsborough dead, some of whom have campaigned for years to see the true facts of the case brought to life.

Announcing the decision to order a new inquest, the Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, said the "interests of justice must be served" and that "however distressing, the truth will be brought to light".

More than 40 family members were present in court to hear the verdict, while other victims' relatives watched the proceedings via video-link from a court in Liverpool.

In England, inquests are held to examine sudden or unexplained deaths. They set out to determine the place and time of death as well as how the deceased came by their death, but do not apportion blame.

British Home Secretary Theresa May also announced Wednesday that a new police probe into the disaster would be opened, led by former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which has pledged to undertake an investigation of its own, welcomed the development.

"The appointment of Mr Stoddart to lead the investigation into the deaths is a crucial step," said IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass.

"His investigation will be into a wide range of agencies outside of the IPCC's remit, but, in order to ensure independence from the police service, we will be managing the element which will look at the actions of police officers in relation to the deaths of the 96 men, women and children."

Kenny Dalglish, Liverpool manager at the time of the disaster, wrote on Twitter: "Two fantastic results today for the Hillsborough families."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron hinted that a charity single released in aid of the Hillsborough families could be granted dispensation from paying sales tax in order to raise more money to cover their legal costs.

The cover version of the Hollies' 1969 song 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' by a group featuring Robbie Williams and former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm is the odds-on favourite to become Britain's number one Christmas record.

"The Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) is currently on the other side of the Atlantic but as the First Lord of the Treasury, I think I can confidently predict there will be a decision that will go down well in Merseyside," said Cameron.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters
    Philippines urges Southeast Asia to rally to halt China reclamation in disputed waters

    The Philippines on Sunday called on neighbouring Southeast Asian nations to push for an immediate halt to China's reclamation in the disputed South China Sea ahead of a regional summit. China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, with overlapping claims from Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in building an airstrip suitable for military use in contested …

  • President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit
    President to appeal for Filipina's life at Malaysia summit

    The Philippine president said Sunday he would appeal for mercy for a Filipina who is due to be executed in Indonesia in two days' time. President Benigno Aquino said he would take the opportunity to seek clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, who is due to be put to death on Tuesday, while in Malaysia for a regional summit Monday. "Once I am there, I will try to speak to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to appeal once more for her case," Aquino said. She was arrested in 2009 with 2.6 kilograms …

  • Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippines
    Beijing poised for 'de facto control' of S.China Sea: Philippines

    Beijing is poised to take "de facto control" of the South China Sea, the Philippines warned on Sunday as it called on fellow Southeast Asian countries to "finally stand up" to their massive neighbour. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing claims nearly all of it and its increasingly strident assertions of its territorial ambitions have caused concern in the region and beyond. "(China) is poised to consolidate de facto control …

  • Philippines urges ASEAN to stop China in South China Sea

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippines on Sunday urged the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take immediate steps to halt land reclamation by China in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, warning that failure to do so will see Beijing take "de facto control" of the area. …

  • Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions
    Indonesia defiant as UN leads condemnation of looming executions

    Indonesia on Sunday signalled it was determined to push ahead with the execution of eight foreign drug convicts, despite a growing wave of global condemnation led by United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would be executed by firing squad imminently, along with an Indonesian prisoner. The group have been moved to the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where …

  • U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions
    U.N. chief appeals to Indonesia not to carry out executions

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Indonesia on Saturday not to execute 10 prisoners, including two Australians, for drug-related crimes. Indonesia has so far informed seven of the 10 death row inmates, including the Australians and one Nigerian, that they will be executed in a matter of days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. Nationals from Brazil, Ghana and the Philippines are also on Indonesia's death row. A temporary reprieve was granted to a French citizen who will not …

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options