Former police chief Sir Norman Bettison will not be prosecuted over alleged lies he told following the Hillsborough disaster after charges against him were dropped.
The former Merseyside and West Yorkshire chief constable had been charged with four counts of misconduct in a public office, all relating to alleged lies he told about his role in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.
But, at a Preston Crown Court hearing before judge Sir Peter Openshaw on Tuesday, Sarah Whitehouse QC, for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the proceedings would be discontinued.
Sir Norman, 62, who was a chief inspector at the time of the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final on April 15 1989, had been due to face trial next year.
He was accused of untruthfully describing his role in the South Yorkshire Police response as “peripheral” in a comment to then chief inspector of constabulary Sir David O’Dowd, in 1998, when Sir Norman applied for the job of chief constable in Merseyside.
He was also accused of lying to Merseyside Police Authority when he said he had never attempted to shift blame for the disaster “on to the shoulders of Liverpool supporters”.
Sir Norman, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was alleged to have lied in a statement issued on September 13 2012, following the publication of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report, when he said he had never offered any interpretation other than that the behaviour of Liverpool fans did not cause the disaster.
He was also accused of misconduct over a a statement released the following day in which he said he had never “besmirched” Liverpool fans.
Sir Norman was charged after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) carried out the biggest criminal investigation into alleged police misconduct ever carried out in England and Wales.
Five other men, including Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield, are due to face trial for offences related to the disaster next year.