Hillsborough disaster families denied permission to intervene in ex-Chief Constable's court case

Relatives of football fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster have been denied permission to have their say in a court case over the forced resignation of a South Yorkshire Police chief.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 8:27 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:20 am
David Crompton

They asked for the right to express their views over the resignation of David Crompton, who was asked to leave his post following the conclusion of the inquests into the deaths of 96 fans crushed at a football match at Hillsborough in 1989.

Mr Crompton was initially suspended by South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, but was then asked to resign.

The inquests concluded that police conduct contributed to or caused the deaths of the football fans, and families of those who died complained that a line of questioning by South Yorkshire Police during the two-year hearing was designed to try and blame the fans for the disaster.

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After the inquests, Mr Crompton appeared to justify the questioning of the fans' conduct.

He was suspended and then asked to resign, with Dr Billings claiming the police chief had led a force that put 'its own reputation first before considering victims' of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster.

Mr Crompton described the PCC's decision as 'fundamentally wrong'.

He is seeking a judicial review at the High Court, which is due to be heard on March 28 and 29.

Five Hillsborough relatives - Dorothy Griffiths, Barry Devonside, Becky Shah, Wendy Hamilton and Charlotte Hennessy - asked the court yesterday to allow them to make written and oral submissions at the pending hearing.

Kate Stone, appearing for all five, argued that they could make valuable contributions and it would be 'in the interests of justice' to allow them to intervene.

Lawyers for Mr Crompton argued the benefit of them intervening would be 'negligible' and could lead to delay, inconvenience and expense.

Dismissing the family's application, Lady Justice Sharp, sitting with Mr Justice Garnham, said submissions from the families 'cannot assist' the court in deciding the issues raised by Mr Crompton's legal challenge.

She added: "Rather, permitting the proposed intervention and the consequential need to allow the other parties to respond will serve only to increase the length and costs of these proceedings."