Today Liverpool Football Club and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign reached a remarkable milestone in their campaign for justice. Families of the Hillsborough victims were able to view the official hidden documents for the first time this morning at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral whilst learning of the findings of an independent panel investigating the disaster.
Now that the information is public, it is time for justice to be done.
As Trevor Hicks, leader of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, poignantly said there were two tragedies that occurred on the 15th April 1989. The death of 96 loyal Liverpool fans was horrific enough yet what followed was an absolute disgrace. A combination of doctored statements, malicious lies and awful media reports besmirched the memory of all Kopites that suffered on that day. What should have been a day to remember and mourn the loss of life has become a bone of contention between Liverpool supporters and their accusers for the last 23 years. Simply because of the incompetence of the emergency services
With the information now in the public domain it is time for real justice to be exacted. Investigations into the failings of the police and ambulance services at the stadium must bear results – according to the review information the independent panel highlighted that 41 people could have been saved after 15.15, the time at which the inquest stated all victims were dead. The doctored statements and attempts to cover up their shortcomings need also be addressed, with criminal punishment necessary where applicable.
Another key component in the history of the Hillsborough disaster is the Sun newspaper. Its publication of false information and lies that disgraced Liverpool Football Club, its supporters and the victims along with their families must be punished now it is revealed that their information was completely incorrect. This is not the only occasion in which the Sun, or in fact a News Corporation newspaper, has been lambasted for their poor journalism yet it is certainly the most serious. Shutting down the publication is the only thing close to justice in my mind – the Sun has been feeding the country lies for far too long.
Finally to fans of the game, the Hillsborough related abuse and taunting has simply got to stop. I am all for banter on the terraces of a football ground but when you are mocking such a tragic event then I’m sure everyone would agree it has gone to far. Out of respect for the victims and their families, chants of ‘murderers’ or ‘liars’ or anything similar has simply got to stop – for those who don’t they should be met with grave consequences.
Today is an important day for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Liverpool Football Club. Yet it is certainly not the end of their work. The information is on the table and now it is time to investigate, prosecute and punish all those involved in this tragedy. Liverpool fans will remember Wednesday 12th September 2012 yet not as a victory but as the day when their voices were finally heard. Now that the truth is out, their voice will only get stronger.
Justice for the 96.