Hillsborough disaster relatives refused permission to intervene in case of former South Yorkshire Police chief

Family members of victims of the Hillsborough tragedy have been refused permission to intervene in a legal action launched by David Crompton over a decision to ask him to resign from his position as the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 2:32 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:11 am
Former Chief Constable David Crompton during his time at South Yorkshire Police

Mr Crompton was suspended by Dr Alan Billings, the region's police and crime commissioner, after the Hillsborough inquest verdicts in April 2016.

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 two judges in London on yesterday to allow them to make written and oral submissions at the pending hearing.

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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."

Mr Crompton is seeking judicial review after Dr Billings suspended him, saying he had led a force that put 'its own reputation first before considering victims' of the Hillsborough Stadium disaster.

Mr Crompton has described the PCC's resignation call as 'fundamentally wrong'.

He was suspended after an inquest jury concluded police conduct contributed to or caused the deaths of 96 football fans at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final.

The families of those who died complained to the coroner and claimed a line of questioning by South Yorkshire Police was designed to try and blame the fans for the disaster.

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

Summarising his reasons for asking the chief constable to immediately resign, Dr Billings said the statement showed Mr Crompton did not 'grasp the gravity of the situation'.

He added the statement was 'insensitive and damaged both the force and the Chief Constable himself'.