Hillsborough: Finally Justice, Now Accountability

by Ray_North on April 27, 2016

Unknown-1For years, some Manchester United fans have engaged in an invidious little chant aimed at Liverpool fans that goes, ‘always the victim, never to blame.’

Well, finally, that chant should be put to rest – Liverpool fans were the victims, and they are not to blame. The decision of the jury at the Hillsborough inquest exonerated Liverpool fans, declaring that they were in no way to blame for the tragedy that unfurled at the FA Cup semi-final of 1989, instead, according to the verdict, the blame lay fairly and squarly on the shoulders of the South Yorkshire Police, who unlawfully killed the fans through gross negligence.

I have to admit, that I didn’t expect that verdict: perhaps, years waiting for juries to return verdicts has scarred me, but, I feared that the standard of proof required to pass a verdict of unlawful killing might be too high, indeed, I even doubted whether that would be the right verdict – but, on reflection, I was wrong and I underestimated the jury: the verdict was entirely correct, and the jury should be applauded for taking two years out of their lives to listen to, understand and be brave enough to deliver the right verdict.

But, what next?

It still doesn’t feel quite over. It’s all very well the South Yorkshire Police and Derek Duckenfield putting out statements uttering their ‘heartfelt apologies’ – but, I’m afraid they count for nothing, the families of the deceased, the fans of Liverpool, indeed the whole City, demands and should expect proper accountability – and that means a criminal prosecution in the Crown Court, because crimes have been committed here.

First, there is the obvious crime of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence, following the inquest’s verdict, there can be absolutely no reason now for the CPS not to indict the South Yorkshire Police and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club for the offence of Manslaughter by Gross Negligence; the FA and the Ambulance Service, may also find themselves in the dock. And alongside them, should be those who held high office at the time – just as a Managing Director will carry the can for his companies criminal negligence, then the Chief Superintendent of a Police Force, in this case, Mr Duckenfield should similarly find his name on the charge sheet.

But, there are other offences at large as well – the Police altered statements, gave misleading information to the press and lied at inquests, public hearings and investigations – charges of Perverting the Course of Justice, Contempt of Court and the very serious Misfeasance in a Public Office should now follow.

The investigating authorities should also be allowed to look into the activities of the Number 10 Press Office and the Home Office, because if they knowingly colluded in the act of propagating lies that were eventually repeated in a Court of Law, then, they too may have questions to answer, though, I concede that this may be tricky.

Finally, of course, there is the Murdoch media – even last night, the Sun and The Times were stubbornly refusing to run the story about Hillsborough on their front page, in what was a demonstration of Murdoch at his most arrogant, sticking up two defiant and bony fingers at the people of Liverpool, the grieving families and the whole system of British justice.

It is difficult to imagine how, in reality, the Murdoch empire can be brought to account over this, I only hope that his comeuppance will come in the Court of public opinion when people finally stop buying his newspapers and watching his TV channels.

The people of Liverpool will never ‘get over’ Hillsborough, they are a wonderfully sentimental people; they care deeply about injustice and they protect their own. These are characteristics that I admire in them, characteristics that Boris Johnson wouldn’t even begin to understand when he infamously told the people to ‘move on’. I just hope that, from now on, they can grieve for their dead with a sense of pride that when people tried to blame them, they never ever rolled over and gave up but fought for what was right and, ultimately, they won.

The Hillsborough 96 will never walk alone.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Eddie Kaye April 27, 2016 at 4:41 pm

I’ll leave the legal side to those more learned than me, but I do hope that those responsible will be held to account.

The victory yesterday was widened to all who believe it truth. It is perhaps (flying in the face of so much in this world) a proof that no matter who you are, or how unheard your voice may seem, that your voice can be heard. A small number of people turned their voice into that of a football club, a city, most of a nation, and now this is the result. Never give up is an understatement.

Faced with wrong from all sides – the events themselves, the lies, the bullying, the slurs, the slander, justice has prevailed. It must not be forgotten that the tragedy is that nothing can turn back the clock. This is justice delayed, and nothing can take back what happened.

My tribute goes to the 96, their families who never gave up, those who worked tirelessly to bring this verdict about.

Once again, I echo your words Ray – YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.

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