'Hillsborough: Resisting Injustice, Recovering Truth'
Eleanor Rathbone Social Justice Public Lecture Series 2016-17
15 April 1989: an inescapable crush on the terraces at Hillsborough Stadium at an FA Cup Semi-Final led to the deaths of 96 men, women and children. Throughout the subsequent investigations and inquiries, those who died and survived were vilified publicly amid police allegations of drunkenness, violence, criminal and abusive behaviour. The families’ unrelenting campaign for truth recovery, spanning two decades, led to disclosure of all existing documents to an Independent Panel. Its definitive 2012 report revealed institutional mendacity, corrupted evidence and partial investigation. This brought an unreserved Government apology, an ongoing criminal investigation into all agencies involved and an unprecedented IPCC investigation into the policing of Hillsborough. It also led to new inquests, commencing March 2014 through to April 2016 and the momentous verdict that the 96 had been killed unlawfully. The jury’s narrative verdict levelled 25 criticisms against the authorities and the club. It exonerated the fans.
Phil Scraton is Professor of Criminology in the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. He is the author of the seminal book Hillsborough: The Truth and he was a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel (2010-2012) and primary author of the ground-breaking Hillsborough: The Report of the Independent Panel (2012). He received the Vice-Chancellor’s inaugural award for research impact at Queen’s University, Belfast and he was runner-up in the 2013 THES UK Research Project of the Year. For his work on Hillsborough, and other contributions to research in the city, in 2016 he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool and Honorary Doctor of Laws of the University of Liverpool, his alma mater.