News24

Bid to quash Hillsborough verdicts

2012-12-10 20:59

London - Britain's attorney general on Monday applied for fresh inquests into the deaths of 96 Liverpool supporters in the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster.

Dominic Grieve applied to the High Court to have the verdicts of the original inquests into Britain's worst sporting disaster quashed so that fresh ones can be held.

The original inquests returned verdicts of accidental death but Grieve wants to bring new evidence forward after an independent inquiry published in September exposed a police cover-up following the crush.

"I believe that the case for the High Court to quash the original inquests is a good one," said the government's top legal officer.

"My application has now been lodged with the court. It is my intention to appear to argue the case at the hearing that will take place in the High Court."

In England, inquests are held to examine sudden or unexplained deaths. They set out to determine the place and time of death as well as how the deceased came by their death. They do not apportion blame.

The crush was triggered by massive overcrowding in the Leppings Lane End of Hillsborough stadium in the northern English city of Sheffield at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

To ease overcrowding outside, police opened an exit gate, allowing supporters to flood into the central pens. Fenced in, Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

The damning independent report released in September revealed that police had altered more than 160 witness statements as part of an attempt to divert blame towards Liverpool supporters.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel's report was published after an exhaustive review of thousands of formerly secret documents. It has already triggered reviews by state prosecutors and the police watchdog.

AFP