Retrial of Hillsborough match commander to open

Retrial of Hillsborough match commander to open

The case against Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield is due to be opened today.

The retrial of the former police chief superintendent, who denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool supporters at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, began at Preston Crown Court, England on Monday.

One hundred potential jurors completed a questionnaire, which asked whether they supported Liverpool FC or had ever worked for the police, before a jury was selected and sworn in on Tuesday.

Peter Openshaw, the judge in the trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield (Peter Byrne/PA)
Peter Openshaw, the judge in the trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield (Peter Byrne/PA)

Richard Matthews QC, prosecuting, will open the case against the 75-year-old on Thursday morning.

On Tuesday, judge Peter Openshaw told jurors they must decide the case on evidence heard in court.

He said: “As all of you will probably know, there has been a huge amount of publicity about the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

“What any of you have heard or read or seen in the past, and what any of you may hear, read or see in the future, is entirely irrelevant to your task, which is to decide whether or not the charge, as laid by the prosecution against this defendant, has been proved and proved by the evidence that you hear and see in this court.”

He said the same applied to decisions made by other inquiries, inquests and trials.

“You will hear that there have been previous trials against this defendant in which the jury has disagreed,” he said.

“That other juries have failed to agree on a verdict is also quite irrelevant to your decision.”

The jury has been told the case may last six to seven weeks.

Ninety-six men, women and children died in the crush in pens at the Leppings Lane end of the Sheffield Wednesday ground at the match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989.

Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution over the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.

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