Two former police officers and a lawyer for the South Yorkshire force are accused of amending statements about the day of the disaster.
Two retired officers and a force solicitor tried to minimise the blame on South Yorkshire Police in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, a court has heard.
Former South Yorkshire Police chief superintendent Donald Denton, 83, Alan Foster, 74, a retired detective chief inspector, and Peter Metcalf, 71, a former solicitor for the force, are alleged to have perverted the course of justice following the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15, 1989, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.
On Tuesday, a trial at the Nightingale court at the Lowry Theatre in Salford heard the defendants were involved in amending statements about the day of the disaster.
Retired South Yorkshire Police officer Alan Foster outside the Lowry Theatre where the trial is being heard (Peter Byrne/PA)
Sarah Whitehouse QC, prosecuting, told the court:
“The allegation is that these three tried to minimise the blame that might be heaped upon the South Yorkshire Police at the many different forms of inquiry that followed that dreadful day.
“They did this by altering accounts given by police officers who were present on the day.
“They knew that those accounts were inevitably going to end up being sent to a number of inquiries that would follow the disaster.”
Jurors were told to “forget everything” they had heard before about the disaster and concentrate only on the evidence heard in court.
Retired police officers Donald Denton and Alan Foster and solicitor Peter Metcalf deny perverting the course of justice (PA)
He was also instructed to act for the police at an inquiry chaired by Lord Justice Taylor to look at safety at sports events following the tragedy and in any civil litigation.
West Midlands Police took charge of investigations after the disaster and asked for written accounts made by officers who were present on the day to be handed over to them, Ms Whitehouse said.
Before the accounts were handed over, Metcalf reviewed them, suggested alterations and his instructions were carried out by Foster and Denton, the court heard.
Ms Whitehouse said: “A number of accounts were altered by them, or at their direction. The effect of the alterations was to mask the failings on the part of South Yorkshire Police in their planning and execution of the policing of the football match.”
The trial is expected to last up to 16 weeks.