Wednesday 27 April 2016

Hillsborough. Justice? Or truth?

The papers today are saying, almost uniformly, that we at last have justice for the 96. Some of the families are saying so as well. I disagree. We do not yet have justice. What the decision gave us yesterday was the truth. Truth is a very important part of justice, but only a part of it. This is an important issue in terms of the national debate, because this is not only about 96 people who lost their lives, and not only about the survivors and family who have had to live with the consequences. We have reached the truth because of the determination of the families, the decency of some (but certainly not all) politicians, and the professionalism and integrity of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, and the coroner and jury who gave their verdicts yesterday.

But this is not yet justice. Justice requires that people face up to their wrong doing and, if necessary, pay a price. There has been much persistent wrong doing over Hillsborough. It is not just about wrong doing by people who were there on the day. It is also about policy and culture that led to a climate in which that kind of thing could happen. And it is also about persistent, deliberate and long term perversion of the course of justice because so many people lied for so long about what actually happened. Even during this inquest, over the course of the last two years, South Yorkshire police barristers were still peddling the lie that the fans were ticketless and out of control drunk. I don't blame the barristers - they were doing their job. I do blame South Yorkshire police - the current commanders of South Yorkshire police - for continuing to peddle such a lie.

The Mirror asks today if justice will be served by people being prosecuted after so long a time. It is a legitimate question. But the answer in this case is a resounding yes. Many people who got it wrong on the day have continued in their lives and careers apparently undisturbed by what they did, and undisturbed by the relentless cover up of their failings and crimes. Yes, they should pay a price.

And the wrong doing has continued to this day. The South Yorkshire police who hid the truth, the West Midlands police who aided and abetted their cover up were guilty even yesterday of maintaining the lie. And it is not a little white lie. It is perverting the course of justice. They should be brought to book.

For some people, the law will not bring justice. The Sun newspaper continues on its merry way. Its "heartfelt" apology was published on pages 8 and 9. Why not on the front page? The Metro has done a brilliant job of trolling the Sun, by the way, reproducing the Sun's infamous front page, and then reporting the results of the inquest with exactly the same format. You need to scroll down a little way to get it.

And there is the person known as Bernard Ingham, the poison pen letter writer. He is a really nasty man. He still refuses to apologise for his disgusting reaction. He will carry on untouched.

The survivors, the families and friends will make their own decision as to whether to continue to campaign for justice. They have earned the right to that decision.

Whatever they decide, the guilty should be pursued. And I hope that the state, which has so long used its apparatus against the 96, will now work on their behalf. But the law does not cover everything. The law cannot not always bring justice, because justice is more than the law. The law does not have the capacity to secure justice between the 96 and their families on the one hand, and the Sun and Bernard Ingham on the other. Justice is about the right kind of relationship existing between people, and it is up to all of us as human beings and as citizens to secure the balance. That means contesting privilege, calling out the powerful when they abuse their power, as the Sun and Ingham have done. And because they are so persistent in abusing their power, the confrontation must also be persistent. In that regard we all have a lot to learn from the families and friends of the 96.

27th April edited to add.
Perhaps they are beginning to do it: David Crompton, South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable, Suspended After Hillsborough Inquest Verdict. While he has only been in command of S Yorks police since 2012, he has been directly involved in the maintenance of the cover up, as shown in the article.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Hillsborough verdict

So the verdict is in, and we have the truth.

QUESTION 6: Determination on unlawful killing issue

Are you satisfied, so that you are sure, that those who died in the disaster were unlawfully killed? Yes or no.


QUESTION 7: Behaviour of the supporters

Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.


Was there any behaviour on the part of the football supporters which may have caused or contributed to the dangerous situation at the Leppings Lane turnstiles? Yes or no.


No thanks to Bernard Ingham, who wrote the most poisonous letter I have ever seen from a government official.

No thanks to the Sun. I'm not even going to link to their disgusting front page.

No thanks to Kelvin Mackenzie, who has issued a crocodile apology and continued on his vicious way.

No thanks to South Yorkshire police.

No thanks to West Mercia police, who "investigated" South Yorkshire police.

No thanks to a succession of governments and ministers who failed in their duty to see that justice was done for their citizens, and were complicit in causing it to take 25 years to discover the truth.

Thanks only to the dogged determination of ordinary people - survivors, family, relatives, friends, supporters who would not rest, and some of whom fought until their own deaths, we finally have the truth about these 96 victims of an incapable and corrupt system.

John Alfred Anderson
Colin Mark Ashcroft
James Gary Aspinall
Kester Roger Marcus Ball
Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron
Simon Bell
Barry Sidney Bennett
David John Benson
David William Birtle
Tony Bland
Paul David Brady
Andrew Mark Brookes
Carl Brown
David Steven Brown
Henry Thomas Burke
Peter Andrew Burkett
Paul William Carlile
Raymond Thomas Chapman
Gary Christopher Church
Joseph Clark
Paul Clark
Gary Collins
Stephen Paul Copoc
Tracey Elizabeth Cox
James Philip Delaney
Christopher Barry Devonside
Chris Edwards
Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons
Thomas Steven Fox
Jon-Paul Gilhooley
Barry Glover
Ian Thomas Glover
Derrick George Godwin
Roy Harry Hamilton
Philip Hammond
Eric Hankin
Gary Harrison
Stephen Francis Harrison
Peter Andrew Harrison
David Hawley
James Robert Hennessy
Paul Anthony Hewitson
Carl Darren Hewitt
Nicholas Michael Hewitt
Sarah Louise Hicks
Victoria Jane Hicks
Gordon Rodney Horn
Arthur Horrocks
Thomas Howard
Thomas Anthony Howard
Eric George Hughes
Alan Johnston
Christine Anne Jones
Gary Philip Jones
Richard Jones
Nicholas Peter Joynes
Anthony Peter Kelly
Michael David Kelly
Carl David Lewis
David William Mather
Brian Christopher Matthews
Francis Joseph McAllister
John McBrien
Marian Hazel McCabe
Joseph Daniel McCarthy
Peter McDonnell
Alan McGlone
Keith McGrath
Paul Brian Murray
Lee Nicol
Stephen Francis O'Neill
Jonathon Owens
William Roy Pemberton
Carl William Rimmer
Dave George Rimmer
Graham John Roberts
Steven Joseph Robinson
Henry Charles Rogers
Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton
Inger Shah
Paula Ann Smith
Adam Edward Spearritt
Philip John Steele
David Leonard Thomas
Patrick John Thompson
Peter Reuben Thompson
Stuart Paul William Thompson
Peter Francis Tootle
Christopher James Traynor
Martin Kevin Traynor
Kevin Tyrrell
Colin Wafer
Ian David Whelan
Martin Kenneth Wild
Kevin Daniel Williams
Graham John Wright