CPS to decide on Hillsborough charges

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Vigil for Hillsborough at St George’s Hall in April 2016. Pic by Sam Davies © JMU Journalism

The Crown Prosecution Service has been sent files on 23 people and organisations involved in the Hillsborough disaster and must now decide whether to bring charges.

The new inquests jury ruled in April last year that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the tragedy were unlawfully killed, but potential trials to establish possible criminal responsibility now rest on the decision of the CPS.

Although the 23 individuals and parties have not been named in public, the CPS is aware of them and it will weigh up the likelihood of securing convictions before filing any charges.

Two separate investigations into the 1989 disaster began in 2012 by Operation Resolve and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Operation Resolve explored events before and on the day of the Hillsborough deaths, including police planning and preparation, ground design and the emergency response.

The IPCC looked into the conduct of both South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police and allegations of a cover-up that is said to have followed the tragedy. It is understood that 15 of the 23 files relate to Operation Resolve and eight to the IPCC investigation.

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Elkan Abrahamson, a lawyer and director at Broudie Jackson Canter which represents 20 of the Hillsborough families, said: “Our clients are relieved that files have finally gone to the CPS to consider criminal proceedings against 23 individuals and organisations.

“Given that the CPS have been working in tandem with the police and the IPCC for many years, we believe decisions should now be taken without further delay. We will continue to scrutinise the process and any decisions.”

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