Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Cop off Hook on Hillsborough; OUTRAGE AS CHARGES OVER 'LIES TOLD AFTER TRAGEDY' THAT LEFT 96 DEAD ARE DROPPED Victims' Families Vow to Challenge CPS Decision

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Top Cop off Hook on Hillsborough; OUTRAGE AS CHARGES OVER 'LIES TOLD AFTER TRAGEDY' THAT LEFT 96 DEAD ARE DROPPED Victims' Families Vow to Challenge CPS Decision

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

FORMER police chief Sir Norman Bettison will not be prosecuted over allegations that he lied following the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster after the charges against him were dropped.

The former Merseyside and West Yorkshire chief constable had been facing four charges of misconduct in public office, all relating to claims he lied about his role in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.

Today the Crown Prosecution Service announced that the proceedings would be discontinued following "significant developments" relating to the available evidence. Families of the victims received the decision with anger and immediately called for a review.

Sir Norman, 62, was a chief inspector with South Yorkshire Police at the time of the tragedy at the FA Cup semifinal on April 15, 1989. He had been due to face trial next year. Explaining the CPS decision to drop proceedings against him, Sue Hemming, the director of legal Continued on Page 2 Continued from Page 1 services, said: "These include changes in the evidence of two witnesses and the death of a third witness."

Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group who lost her 18-year-old son James in the disaster, said they would challenge the decision. "We have grave concerns about the handling of this case by the CPS and can confirm that we will be exercising our right to an independent review under the right to review scheme," she said.

Sir Norman was present at Preston crown court this morning when the decision was announced. He remained seated after the charges were discontinued as relatives of the victims filed out of court, some loudly directing comments at him.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse, QC, told the court there was no longer a realistic prospect of conviction. …

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