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Friday, 28 July, 2000, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Hillsborough judge defends retrial ban
Bernard Murray and David Duckenfield
Defendants had"public and humiliating" trial, said judge
The judge in the Hillsborough trial is firmly convinced that the police commander on duty on the day would not receive a fair retrial on manslaughter charges.

Speaking shortly after Justice Hooper's announcement, South Yorkshire Police said nothing more could be gained from scrutinising the disaster and it was now time to move on.

Justice Hooper stayed two charges of manslaughter against former Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield on Wednesday after jurors failed to reach a verdict on two charges of manslaughter.

The crush which caused the deaths is almost impossible to imagine now

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Daines

He told Leeds Crown Court on Friday that forcing Mr Duckenfield to undergo another trial would constitute clear oppression.

He said the six-week trial of the former police officer and his deputy, former superintendent Bernard Murray, had been very public and the defendants had faced the public humiliation that accompanied it.

Duty to defendant

"I do not in any way underestimate the suffering of those who lost their loved ones at Hillsborough and the many others whose lives were so deeply affected by the events of that day," said Justice Hooper.

"I have an overriding duty to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. That, I am firmly convinced, is no longer possible."
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Daines
Mr Daines hopes emotional wounds can now be healed

More than 50 of the victims' families, who attended court every day of the trial, had wanted Mr Duckenfield to be re-tried and said they were "bitterly disappointed" at the judge's decision.

Assistant Chief Constable Ian Daines said he hoped the judge's decision would help people move on.

"Blame has been attributed and some of it, quite rightly, at the feet of South Yorkshire Police and various other organisations," he said.

"Nothing more can be gained by continuing to think that anything more can be learned about the disaster. It happened in public and has been scrutinised in public."

Mr Duckenfield, 55, of Bournemouth, Dorset, was accused of two sample charges of killing fans at the April 1989 disaster when 96 people were crushed to death during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough ground.

The jury cleared Mr Murray, 58, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, was cleared of the same charges last week.

Hillsborough tragedy
Ninety-six people died at Hillsborough
The trial brought by the Hillsborough Family Support Group has taken two years to go through the courts.

The prosecution had alleged that the two officers were responsible for the deaths because they ordered the opening of an exit gate to relieve a crush of supporters at the turnstiles without blocking off a tunnel leading to overcrowded terraces.

South Yorkshire Police Authority, which put up around 2m for the officers' defence, hope to receive around 75% of the funds back from central government.

The families have said they will not take their legal action any further.

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