August 10, 2017

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In-court

Hillsborough: accused appear in court

Five men charged over the Hillsborough disaster and its aftermath appeared in court yesterday.

The men attended Warrington Magistrates’ Court in Cheshire. No formal pleas were given for four of the men but former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell pleaded not guilty to health and safety charges.

They were all bailed until next month.

The court was told ex-South Yorkshire Police (SYP) chief inspector Sir Norman Bettison, who went on to become chief constable of Merseyside Police, Peter Metcalf, who was a solicitor for SYP, former Chief Superintendent Donald Denton and former Deputy Chief Inspector Alan Foster, will plead not guilty when their cases reach crown court on 6 September.

Mackrell, who is expected to be tried separately, is accused of two counts of breaching the terms of the Hillsborough stadium’s safety certificate contrary to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, and failing to take reasonable care under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974.

Court order

The defendants walked past family members of the 96 victims of the disaster who had gathered at the entrance of the court.

Former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield, who is also facing charges over the 1989 disaster, was not required to attend. He was prosecuted privately in 1999 and the CPS is applying to the High Court to lift a court order imposed, which must be removed before Duckenfield can be charged.

Duckenfield was match commander at the FA Cup semi-final when 96 Liverpool fans were fatally injured in the crush.

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