Hillsborough match commander to face manslaughter trial

Application to halt prosecution of David Duckenfield over deaths of 95 fans is rejected

File photograph of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield, who will face trial for manslaughter. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

File photograph of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield, who will face trial for manslaughter. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

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Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield will face trial for manslaughter – after an application to halt his prosecution was rejected.

The former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent is charged with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool fans who died in the disaster during the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough Stadium on April 15th, 1989.

Ben Myers QC, defending Mr Duckenfield, made an application to stay the prosecution at Preston Crown Court on Thursday, but it was refused by judge Peter Openshaw.

Mr Duckenfield (73) is due to stand trial on January 14th next year alongside former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell (68), who is charged with an offence involving the stadium safety certificate and another health and safety offence.

Mr Duckenfield faces 95 charges of gross negligence manslaughter over the crush in the terrace pens at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground at the 1989 match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the incident’s 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.

Earlier this year, the Crown Prosecution Service successfully applied to lift a historical stay halting further legal proceedings against Mr Duckenfield, which was put in place in 2000.

Three other defendants – retired police officers Donald Denton (80) and Alan Foster (71) and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf (68), who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster – are scheduled to go on trial in September 2019 in relation to the incident, charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice. – PA

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