After the indictment decisions, Professor Scraton, the lead author of the Independent Panel’s report on the tragedy, said: “We must not forget that so many people were killed along the way. We would have had far more indictments if this had happened much earlier and if these people were still alive.
Six people – including David Duckenfield and Norman Bettison – will have to stand trial after yesterday’s groundbreaking announcement.
High-ranking members of the police force may have been targeted by criminal probes, while medical examiners and members of parliament were widely criticized for their actions.
During the 28-year campaign for justice, many high-ranking personalities have been criticized.
“There will have been many others considered where it was thought there was not enough evidence – not no evidence, but enough evidence – to prosecute them.
He added: “What we can see is that we have two people who were directly involved in the disaster itself and four people who were in the post-disaster period.
Others may hardly ever have been heard in court – but they were nevertheless heavily criticized.
Of those who have since died, some may have been considered by Operation Resolve and the criminal investigations of the Independent Police Complaints Commission that began in 2012.
SIR PETER WRIGHT
Here, ECHO is dealing with some of those who were criticized in connection with the tragedy but have died.
This does not mean that he would have been indicted – nor that he was among the suspects who were referred to the public prosecutor’s office for its deliberations.
Among those who have died since 1989, Sir Peter Wright, then Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, may have been considered in the criminal investigations into the causes of the disaster and its aftermath.
But in the new investigation, Wright, who controversially appointed David Duckenfield as game commander for the tragic FA Cup semi-final, was accused of being involved in an action “designed to manipulate the evidence and present a false account of the disaster”.
In summarizing the evidence, medical examiner Lord Justice Goldring told the jury: “I manipulated the evidence and presented a false account of the disaster: “If … you conclude that the senior leadership of South Yorkshire Police, i.e. Mr Wright and the other senior police officers, have decided to orchestrate a process of suppression or substantial alteration of evidence in a consistent manner, then you should consider why they have done so.
Three of the suspects indicted yesterday face charges of perverting the course of justice in terms of altering witness testimony.
Had Wright been alive, investigators might have checked to see if their alleged actions were influenced by high-ranking personalities, including the then police chief.
“Was it to present a report that they thought was right, or was it to divert blame that they realized had to fall on the police because of their knowledge of the disaster and all the evidence and reports they received?