David Duckenfield, the former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent who was the match commander of the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in 1989, will face trial for manslaughter. An application to stop his prosecution for manslaughter was rejected by a court on Thursday.
Duckenfield is charged of causing death by gross negligence of 95 Liverpool fans died in the disaster at Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989. He had pleaded not guilty and previously applied to stop the prosecution in June. The plea was dismissed by the judge Peter Openshaw in a hearing at Preston crown court.
Duckenfield alongside former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, who is charged with violation of the stadium safety certificate and health safety, will face the trial in Preston on January 14 next year.
Three other defendants – retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf are charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice. They will face the trial in September 2019.
However, the Crown Prosecution Service has not sought a manslaughter charge in relation of Tony Bland, the 96th person who died four years later.
According to the law in 1989, manslaughter charge cannot be applied to a person who died more than a year after the incident.
Bland suffered critical brain injuries in the human crush on Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane terrace. He was placed on life support in a hospital and turned off the support in 1993, following a court application made by his family.
On Saturday, April 15, 1989, Liverpool fans rushed into the Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground to attend the semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. As many as 96 people were killed and more than 700 were injured in the worst disaster in British sporting history.
Families and relatives of the victims have been seeking justice for years.