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Hillsborough: Application for separate trials rejected

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image copyrightReuters
image captionDavid Duckenfield was the South Yorkshire Police match commander at the FA Cup semi-final

A bid to separate the joint trial of Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield and ex-Sheffield Wednesday club secretary Graham Mackrell has been rejected.

Lawyers for Mr Mackrell, 68, argued his case for alleged offences in connection with the 1989 disaster should be heard by a different jury.

But Sir Peter Openshaw at Preston Crown Court turned down the application.

They will stand trial together at the same court as scheduled on 14 January.

Mr Duckenfield, 73, is charged with manslaughter by gross negligence over the deaths of 95 football supporters following the crush in the terrace pens at the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday's ground at the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15 1989.

Mr Mackrell is charged with an offence involving the stadium safety certificate and a health and safety offence.

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.

Both defendants are set to enter their pleas at a pre-trial hearing at Preston Crown Court on 10 September.

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