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Hearing to lift stay on Hillsborough match commander's prosecution to be held

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield
Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield

An application to lift a stay on the prosecution of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield will be heard in court today.

A two-day hearing is due to be held at Preston Crown Court in front of judge Mr Justice Openshaw.

The 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster

The 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster

Duckenfield, 73, is not required to attend court for the hearing.

Last June, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced plans to charge the former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent with the manslaughter by gross negligence of 95 victims of the 1989 disaster.

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.

Before he can be formally charged, the CPS must apply to lift the stay - halting further legal proceedings - which was imposed by a now-retired judge in 2000 after Mr Duckenfield faced trial in a private prosecution brought by families.

Five other men, including former Merseyside chief constable Norman Bettison, have been charged with offences relating to the disaster and its aftermath.

Ninety-six Liverpool fans died in the crush at the Leppings Lane end of Hillsboroughstadium on April 15 1989, as the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest began.