Hillsborough charges dropped against former police chief

<p>
              Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison speaks to the media outside Preston Crown Court, in Preston, England, Tuesday Aug. 21, 2018. Bettison who was charged with lying about his involvement in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in 1989 will no longer face trial. Bettison, who was chief inspector of the region where Britain's worst sports disaster took place, had been charged with four counts of misconduct while in public office.(Peter Powell/PA via AP)
            </p>

PRESTON, England (AP) — A former police chief who was charged with lying about his involvement in the aftermath of the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy in 1989 will no longer face trial, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Norman Bettison, who was chief inspector of the region where Britain’s worst sports disaster took place, had been charged with four counts of misconduct while in public office.

Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service said proceedings against Bettison were dropped because of developments in the available evidence, which “means there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.”

The 62-year-old Bettison had been due to face trial next year.

Five other men are to face trial next year for offenses related to the disaster in which 96 people died following a crush in a standing-only section of Hillsborough as it staged an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

The original verdicts of accidental death were overturned in 2012 after documents uncovered mistakes by authorities and a cover-up by police, following a long campaign by families of the victims.

A support group for the families said it will call for a review of the decision to drop the charges against Bettison.