HILLSBOROUGH: Families in inquest call as fight for justice begins
MEMBERS of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign are considering their next legal steps this week following the publication of a report into the tragedy.
The group met on Monday and the discussion went on late into the night as the issue of new inquests and criminal prosecutions was debated.
Revelations in the long-awaited report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel, led by the Bishop of Liverpool, included:
164 statements were “significantly amended”, including the removal of 116 negative comments about the leadership of police.
As many as 41 of the fans crushed in the Leppings Lane end could have survived had there been a swifter response to the unfolding disaster.
The ground did not have a valid safety certificate at the time of the match.
Police tested young victims for alcohol and searched the police national computer for criminal records of the dead.
HJC chair Sheila Coleman said: “Our most important priority is lobbying the Attorney general to quash the inquest verdicts immediately. If the verdicts could be quashed quickly it would show commitment on the part of the government.
“There was a strong sense from the families and the survivors that what occurred at Hillsborough was the fault of the state.
“They allowed a cover-up and it is the responsibility of the government to put this right. We don’t mind waiting for new inquests if this means criminal proceedings will arise.
“We want new inquests and we will reproduce the evidence we presented in 1993 at the judicial review but this time we have the weight of the Independent Panel’s report and we would like to include testimony from those who were close to death, the survivors themselves.”
The Hillsborough Family Support Group has already outlined a three-pronged campaign for justice which includes prosecutions, new inquests and new civil actions.
HFSG chair Margaret Aspinall welcomed a statement by Home Secretary Theresa May on Monday about possible prosecutions following last week’s revelations.
Mrs Aspinall said she was “heartened'' by her comments.
She added: “We will also be keeping a very close eye on the relevant bodies ourselves to make sure everything is done properly.
“We have to be kept informed of everything that is going on.”
West Wirral MP Esther McVey said: “The 23-year fight for the truth has at long last given us all the answers. The fight for the truth is over, now we embark on the fight for justice.”
Wirral South MP Alison McGovern praised the dignity and courage of the Hillsborough families.
She said: “Now we must consider the information put forward so that we can take further steps towards justice and accountability.”