Six people, including two former senior police officers, have been charged with criminal offences over the deaths of 96 people at the Hillsborough disaster and the alleged police cover-up that followed.
David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire officer who was in command of policing at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in 1989, has been charged with the manslaughter.
Sue Hemming, the Crown Prosecution Service head of special crime and counter-terrorism, said the CPS would allege that Duckenfield’s failure to take personal responsibility on the day was “extraordinarily bad and contributed substantially to the deaths of each of those 96 people who so tragically and unnecessarily lost their lives”.
Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough Families Support Group whose teenage daughters Sarah and Vicki were killed, said the news was a vital step forward.
“If I’m honest I didn’t think we would get to this day, no,” he said. “We didn’t think we would. This is a success for society at large. There are no winners but it sends a message out that nobody is above the law. After Grenfell Tower and others, the message is ‘watch out, families will come after you.’
Hillsborough displayed a utter disregard of human life by the British criminal and legal system. Families painfully fought to receive justice from an establishment hell bent in protecting their own corrupt and damaged reputation. All the way from government, the Police and the media, they smeared victims with allegations of drunkenness and disorderly behaviour. In fact they tried to tarnish the entire people of the city of Liverpool with their gross accusation of labelling it a self inflicted disaster.
The blame indeed lies with the authorities responsible on the day of Hillsborough, who had a duty to protect the safety of spectators. However there are much wider questions to ask, including why justice was delivered after almost 30 years to families? Why has it taken so long for the government to intervene to pindown why 96 people were killed under the watch of publicly funded services? Why is justice seldom delivered to people when the Police are involved and poor practise is displayed?
It is because it would undermine and expose the shocking cover up of the Police and British legal system. It had to take the relentless effort of families to bring awareness of the corruption of the entire legal and criminal system for their voice to be heard
Justice was not served to the families and it was only with blood, sweat and tears charges are now being issued. This is a government which parades around the world as bastions of civilisation but has been unable to deliver swift justice to families who have lost loved ones.
Corruption reigns supreme, let that be in the case of Hillsborough or let that be in the horrendous case in the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Everytime in these cases, the Police, media and indeed the government have their hands dirtied with cover up and scandal.
Islam has a specific judicial system which does not tolerate corruption and cover ups. It promotes an independence in delivering justice and drives forward justice, regardless who is the accused or accuser.
There can be no bias of any kind from the judiciary settling disputes. The court system delivering ruling will be in a way that ensures both parties are equally able to communicate their point of view to the judge.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
“If two men come to you do not give a judgment for one of them until you have heard what the other has had to say, then you will be able to judge.” [Tirmidhi & Ahmad]
This is unlike Hillsborough, where families did not even have the opportunity to bring their full case to courts, because of barriers within the infrastructure of the British legal and criminal system.
Justice is becoming an alien term in Britain and other western countries. It is a mirage that few people receive but is often quoted. Time will reveal how the families of Grenfell will progress in their quest for justice, however one thing is certain- it will be a horrendous struggle.
إِنَّ اللّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَن تُؤدُّواْ الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا وَإِذَا حَكَمْتُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ أَن تَحْكُمُواْ بِالْعَدْلِ
“Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.” [An-Nisaa’ 4:58]