Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Ex-police chief David Crompton in resignation legal bid

Hillsborough disaster Image copyright Hillsborough inquests
Image caption Families of those who died in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 said South Yorkshire Police's line of questioning was designed to try and blame fans

There was "no fair basis" for the "draconian step" of forcing a South Yorkshire Police chief constable out of office, the High Court has heard.

David Crompton was suspended in April after he appeared to justify police questioning of fans' behaviour in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster.

His comments came after an inquest jury concluded force conduct contributed to or caused the deaths of 96 fans.

It later led to a resignation call by Dr Alan Billings.

The court heard the police and crime commissioner (PCC) felt Mr Crompton's statement had "damaged trust" in the force.

But Hugh Bailey QC said the decision requiring his client to leave the force should be quashed, describing it as "fundamentally wrong".

He added: "The claimant submits that the defendant had no fair or reasonable basis for taking the draconian step of forcing him out of office, and that the decision was unlawful."

Image copyright Matthew Lloyd
Image caption David Crompton's lawyers said he was not implicated in any of the Hillsborough jury's adverse findings

Mr Davies said Mr Crompton was not involved in the force's underlying failures at Hillsborough or its response to the disaster, nor was he implicated in any of the jury's findings.

He told Lady Justice Sharp and Mr Justice Garnham the PCC called for his resignation not because of any alleged wrongdoing associated with underlying events, but because of the press release he had issued.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Image caption Dr Billings suspended Mr Crompton after the inquests concluded

Jonathan Swift QC, for the PCC, argued the claim should be dismissed.

He said although the decision was controversial, Dr Billings was entitled to conclude that public trust and confidence in the force had been damaged by the chief constable's actions.

The hearing continues.


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