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Tuesday 26 April 2016

Justice For The 96 - AT LAST

Question Six. After so much time, so many setbacks, so many false starts, and so much dogged determination on the part of the families, their friends and neighbours, and the wider Merseyside community, it came down to the answer to one question, one answer that brought the decades-long campaign for justice to its conclusion.
Hillsborough memorial at Anfield

So often, it is not just the tragedy, the loss, the shock, the unimaginable grief that is the worst part, but the deflection, the dishonesty, the closing of ranks that hurts the most. What happened 27 years ago at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield was terrible enough: worse was to come with the cover-up that followed. 27 long years have passed as the families of the 96 victims of that fatal crush have sought justice.

Their journey has led to today’s verdicts in the new inquest into those deaths. For the relatives and friends, there may now be a sense of closure, of justice. But for those who shamefully covered up the terrible reality of what happened on the fateful Saturday afternoon, there will be a combination of fear and apprehension. Police, politicians, and worst of all the press, have been bracing themselves for the inquest’s conclusion.

Ultimately, it was all distilled down into a 14-part questionnaire, on which the inquest jury had reached unanimous agreement - except for one question. That was the question of whether the 96 victims were unlawfully killed. As the BBC has set it out, “To answer yes, jurors must be ‘sure’ that match commander Ch Supt David Duckenfield was ‘responsible for the manslaughter by gross negligence’ of those who were fatally injured”.

Yesterday, the coroner, John Goldring, on hearing that the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on that last question, told jurors he would accept a majority decision, and was then informed that at least seven of the nine had reached agreement. The verdicts would be delivered today, in order to allow relatives and friends of the victims to travel to Warrington and hear those verdicts in person.

So it was that the answers to that questionnaire were read out to a hushed courtroom. Or rather, it was hushed until the jury forewoman arrived at Question Six. To the question “Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed?” the answer came back YES. By a majority verdict. There was spontaneous applause from the gallery. And more was to follow.

Question Seven, “Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles?” was perhaps the one that the press establishment was dreading. The answer was a unanimous NO. There was more applause from the gallery.

After all fourteen questions had been answered, the jury retired to yet more applause. The waiting was over. It had taken so long that some who had started the journey were not there at the end. But at long last, the stain upon Liverpool Football Club, its supporters, the city and indeed the whole of Merseyside has been cleaned away.

In 1989, we witnessed what was effectively an establishment cover-up of 96 unlawful killings. But slowly, surely, the cover-up was exposed, and today came justice. The end.


Unknown said...

No doubt Kelvin the liar will be playing the oh woe is me victim card

Anonymous said...


Don't kid yourself this means the end of the 37 years long propaganda and economic assault against Merseyside.

Never underestimate the depth of hatred manufactured by the English establishment in London and the south east.

Justice has at last been served in the legal sense. The families and the victims have at last been vindicated. But do you REALLY think it's going to make the least bit of difference to the neocon lunatics and thieves in Westminster, Canary Wharf, Whitehall and mainstream media? To utterly despicable creatures like Kelvin MacKenzie? To the corrupters of this nation? To those who not only wrecked the economy of Merseyside, but also of virtually everywhere else outside the south east? To those who have brought the British Union to its near demise?

The families are heroes. They are incredibly honest and determined. Would that we had more of them instead of the far right filth that infests our culture.

Arnold said...

The end? Surely they'll have to at least consider charging Duckenfield with manslaughter by gross negligence?

Arnold said...

It's almost a shame that Thatcher isn't still around to apologise for rejecting criticism of the South Yorkshire Police.

Andy McDonald said...

@ Chr1sda1sey:

No doubt he will, or at the least claim that he was only acting in good faith and taking on trust the information supplied to him by a reputable news agency and who was he to doubt the word of a senior copper...

To which, yarbles. Funny that this arch cynic chooses that day of all days to take a press statement at face value. Of course, we all know why. It fed into the narrative of the time - football fans and Scousers to boot. Working class, dirty, northern, thieving, lefty, deserved whatever they got.

Chances are MacKenzie will bury his head in the sand, and find something else to talk about. One can only hope a few news crews decide to doorstep him again.

Andrew_S_Hatton said...

Sadly it is far from the end as Margaret Aspinall, chair of the bereaved families group explains in an article on the ITV website http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2016-04-26/margaret-aspinall-theres-no-victory-in-hillsborough/

Anonymous said...

When it comes to the media there's an awful long list of shame. Just a few of them are:

Kelvin MacKenzie (of course).
Andrew Neil.
Edward Pearce.
Ian Jack.

Most of all, of course, Rupert Murdoch, who could have stopped the lies right at the beginning but chose like all cowards to shrink from the limelight.

That list is merely the tip of a guilty iceberg, "journalists" who were and are little more than gutless boot boys acting in a gang, all of them spurred on by the worst reactionary politicians in British history.

The causes of this horror and its cowardly cover up are tendrils reaching into ALL levels of the establishment. Which means there will be repeats of this kind of treatment in other areas of our society.

But what's the betting the media will "fail" (read: avoid and run from) to look in detail at their own actions, particularly the London thugs.

Bob said...

I seem to remember a Littlejohn article in the Evening Standard on the Monday following the deaths. It was not far off the lies of 'The Truth' which appeared just two days later. Anyone have a copy?
To echo Irvine Welsh: Hillsborough about more than establishment cover up of tragic deaths. Also about a state-led cultural vilification of a city & its people.

J said...

Kelvin McFilth got door-stopped and he did not seem happy about it, poor thing - not.


wildcat said...

What seems to have gone virtually unreported is the fact that the Football Association, the game's governing body, with a responsibility for the spectators, knowingly allowed a semi final match in it's most prestigious tournament to take place in an unfit ground with no safety certificate.

Regardless of the cover-ups from the media, police, politicians etc, (which it goes without saying were appalling) without this decision, those people would not have died.

Every single person at the FA who was involved in that decision should be in the dock alongside Duckenfield, and facing a very lengthy jail sentence.

I shan't hold my breath on that happening, sadly.

Arnold said...

What did Magruder say about Watergate? "No one ever considered that there would not be a cover-up."
I see that Bernard Ingram has refused to apologise for uncritically believing the police lies.

rob said...

@ Arnold

His quid pro quo for the police services in the Miners strike and the swamp at Wapping.

Hillsboro' - politicians, media "believed" their mates in the police.
Phonehacking - Yates of the Yard and politicians - "believed" their luncheon mates in the media.
Stepehen Lawrence murder - police and media failings
Daniel Morgan murder - who know how far that story goes (please listen to the podcasts on Byline).

Even if you take those words at face value it throws into question the cosy relationships between those groupings.

Leveson 1 opened a few eyes to how the press operated but Leveson 2 required not only to inspect past failings but to hopefully learn from it and make things better. At least until memories fade an d the whole cyclestarts all over again with the successors to our present shower of medis owners.