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  1. ITV Report

Hillsborough families protest over barrister's award nomination

Photo: PA

The Hillsborough Family Support Group is demanding the cancellation of an award nomination for a barrister who played a leading role in the Hillsborough inquests.

John Beggs QC represented David Duckenfield, the police commander whose actions were found by the inquest jury to have caused or contributed to the unlawful deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989. He also represented two of David Duckenfield's deputies at the inquests, which ended last month.

John Beggs is nominated for Barrister of the Year in the shortlist for the 2016 Lawyer of the Year Awards. In a letter to the editor of The Lawyer magazine, seen by ITV News, the Chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, describes the nomination as an "insult".

"I do not know who is behind this nomination or what agenda they have but, far from 'celebrating excellence' as you suggest on your website, this nomination insults the Hillsborough families and insults the public's intelligence. I truly feel this nomination should be cancelled."

– Margaret Aspinall, Hillsborough Family Support Group

The Hillsborough families objected to some of the lines of questioning taken by Mr Beggs during the inquests. In the letter, Margaret Aspinall says:

We and the jury listened to Mr Beggs for the last two years and the jury's vedrict tells you all you need to know about how good a barrister he is.

– Margaret Aspinall

Mr Beggs appears on a shortlist of eight lawyers in the Barrister of the Year category. The Lawyer magazine says the awards celebrate excellence and are "the most sought-after trophies in the law." The winners are due to be announced at an awards ceremony on 29th June at the Intercontinental Hotel in London.

Neither John Beggs nor the Lawyer magazine were available for comment.