Secret hillsborough disaster files to be made publ - Breaking news

Hillsborough remembrance and related information

Postby Reg » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:46 pm

April 19, 2009

Secret Hillsborough disaster files to be made public by the Government

Hundreds of secret documents relating to the Hillsborough Disaster are to be made public for the first time, after the Home Secretary requested to waive the 30-year secrecy rule on their publication.

Crucial medical files, police reports and transcripts of high-level operational meetings could be among the documents released, finally allowing the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died at an FA Cup semi-final tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest to discover how events unfolded on April 15, 1989.

The Home Office today confirmed that Jacqui Smith had met with South Yorkshire’s chief constable Meredydd Hughes to discuss releasing the documents, ten years before their embargo is due to officially expire in 2019.

The families of the fans crushed to death in Britain’s deadliest footballing disaster have welcomed the decision.

Hillsborough was a disaster that removed football’s squalor, complacency and inadequate safety arrangements for good

Trevor Hicks, of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “We have heard that a request has been made and we are expecting confirmation this week.

“I am pleased, it’s better late than never. This will enable us to see the full picture of events in a way that we have been denied for 20 years.

“It is vital that these files are released in full and not sanitised in any way.”

The documents to be released could include the records of police and ambulance services who attended the disaster, and could also include minutes of a meeting held between then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and senior South Yorkshire police officers, which is believed to have taken place the following day.

Mr Hicks said: “We believe that a decision was made at that meeting that the police would not be blamed for what happened.

“We would like to see the minutes of the meeting, to know what the Prime Minister was told and what decisions were taken about the handling of any inquiries.”

Only one inquest was held about the disaster, which ruled that all those who died were dead - or brain dead - by 3.15pm and subsequently recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The victims’ families have strongly refuted this claim and have been campaigning for further inquiries to establish whether South Yorkshire Police failed to instigate a Major Incident Plan and whether fans in the Leppings Lane end of the stadium were denied emergency medical attention.

The call to release the documents comes after Culture Secretary Andy Burnham released a statement during ceremonies to mark the 20th anniversary of the disaster last Wednesday.

He said: “There is a case for full disclosure by any public body of any document previously unpublished which would shed light on the disaster and its aftermath. It is vital that we have transparency.”

Whitehall sources have said that Mr Burnham asked for the Home Secretary’s backing before making the statement, but said that no formal discussions had been held with the police or relevant authorities prior to that.

No timescale has been announced for the documents’ release, as talks will have to be held with the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport before access can be granted to legal documents, which the victims’ families have asked to view before they are made public.

The 20th anniversary of the disaster was marked with ceremonies in Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham last week as calls were again made for further investigations into the circumstances surrounding the deaths and the response to the disaster as it unfolded.

Campaigners say it is an injustice that no individual or organisation has been held fully to account for the disaster.

Chants of “Justice for the 96” rang around Liverpool’s Anfield stadium on Wednesday, and Kevin Robinson, of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, has called for a full public inquiry into the disaster.

He said: “People have a right to know what happened to their loved ones.

“They went to watch a game of football and never came home. And for 20 years we’ve been campaigning to get that information out. That’s the least that can be done.”

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Surely there could be sufficient evidence in these documents to provide a review of the way the enquiry was 'finalised' vis a vis the lack of prosecutions?
Last edited by Reg on Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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