After a fall and winter period that were among the most significant to date in the continued campaign for truth and justice for the Hillsborough families, this week has seen further developments, with a pre-hearing date for new inquests set for April 25th. It's one of the first significant events of 2013, but one that should go a fair distance in further investigating what actually happened that day.
"The families and other interested parties have today been sent letters informing them that a pre-inquest hearing will take place in London on April 25," commented an inqests spokesman. "As the letters make clear, the coroner will hear submissions on the timing and location of the inquests themselves before making any decision. Further details and arrangements for press and public attendance will be issued shortly."
A major part of the ruling in December that quashed the original verdict was focused on the cutoff time judged by the original coroner; Dr. Stefan Popper had ruled that 3:15pm was the time past which no victim could have possibly survived, but growing evidence gathered over the years indicated that almost 60 of those who lost their lives might have lived had proper support been provided.
The pre-hearing won't necessarily bring about any sort of concrete resolution, but it's another step in a direction that's decidedly positive for the families. As always, "positive" is a relative term, as there's no doubt that any victory at this point--while hopefully comforting--will feel as though it's come far too late. It's something, though, and let's hope it continues the trend of the closing months of 2012 that saw significant ground gained.