Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield will face trial for the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 football supporters after a judge at Preston Crown Court lifted a stay on his prosecution.
Duckenfield, 73, faces 95 charges of gross negligence manslaughter following the crush in the terrace pens of the Sheffield Wednesday stadium’s Leppings Lane end at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15.
Under the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland, as he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
About 10 family members of the 96 Liverpool fans who died at the 1989 FA Cup semi-final were in Preston Crown Court on Friday, with others watching proceedings on a video link from Liverpool, as judge Sir Peter Openshaw made his rulings.
The judge said four other defendants charged with matters related to the disaster and its aftermath will also face trial following abuse of process arguments, which were heard at Preston Crown Court earlier this month.
An abuse of process argument for former Merseyside and West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison, who is charged with misconduct in a public office, has been adjourned until August 21.
The judge said: “In respect of the defendant David Duckenfield I lift the stay.
“I confirm that I grant the voluntary bill of indictment to allow prosecution against for manslaughter to proceed. I decline to order a stay on that charge.”
The Crown Prosecution Service applied to lift a historical stay – halting further legal proceedings – on Duckenfield which was put in place in 2000.
Duckenfield is set go on trial in September at Preston Crown Court alongside former Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell, 68, who is charged with an offence involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.
Three other defendants – retired police officers Donald Denton, 80, and Alan Foster, 71, and retired solicitor Peter Metcalf, 68, who acted for South Yorkshire Police following the 1989 disaster – are scheduled to go on trial in January 2019 charged with doing acts intended to pervert the course of justice.