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Hillsborough disaster match commander to receive legal funding

5th December 2017

Hillsborough memorial flag

David Duckenfield, the match commander at the Hillsborough disaster, will receive public funding to fight prosecution.

Duckenfield was in charge during the day of the April 15 1989 disaster that occurred during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday’s football ground. 

Following legal proceedings in 2000, Duckenfield cannot be charged unless a stay of prosecution is lifted. Now, a judge during a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice has ruled that the former chief superintendent qualifies for legal representation. These costs, according to the BBC, will be met by the taxpayer.

Stay of prosecution

The stay of prosecution in question came about when a private action was brought by the families who lost relatives during the match. Duckenfield, who is now retired, needs legal funding to stop the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) from lifting the stay of prosecution.

Along with the already mentioned, Duckenfield, in order to fight any prosecution for gross negligence manslaughter of 95 football fans, wants financial assistance if any charges are ultimately brought against him.

The CPS application will now be heard in February at an undecided venue after originally being due to take place in January.

There are a number of trials scheduled for Preston Crown Court where five people have been charged in relation to the Hillsborough disaster. At this time, none of the five have entered pleas.

For legal reasons, charges cannot be brought against the final victim of the disaster, Tony Bland, as he died four years later. Therefore, the figure is given as 95, not 96 fans that were fatally crushed in the stadium.

Such a high profile case as this is of course not only well known to those working in jobs in the legal sector but to Britons everywhere. The resolution of the case, when it eventually comes, will certainly be a significant moment.


Image Credit: Linksfuss