Documents outlining the police's role in covering up the Hillsborough disaster were handed to the Crown Prosecution Service 14 years ago, it has been claimed.
Writing in The Independent newspaper, Alun Jones QC, who led a private prosecution for manslaughter on behalf of the families, said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) needed to explain "why his office did absolutely nothing", even after being given detailed evidence that outlined the depth of the conspiracy.
Mr Jones told the newspaper the Hillsborough Family Support Group launched the private prosecution of Chief Superintendent David Duckenfield and his deputy Bernard Murray - who were in charge when 96 Liverpool fans died on April 15, 1989 - because of the DPP's failure to act.
Mr Jones wrote in the newspaper: "We furnished the DPP, and Attorney General, with an analysis demonstrating the gravity of the conspiracy, but also proving that critical evidence of non-police witnesses had been withheld from the DPP and coroner in 1990.
"We showed how the tampering exercise was organised. I was clear that crimes of perverting the course of justice had been committed, but not by whom, and it was beyond the power of the families to investigate." The prosecution failed in 2000.
Mr Jones also told The Independent that the police were "heavily protected" by law in investigations into their conduct, and that it took "herculean, demoralising efforts by the victims" before wrongs were brought to light.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman told the paper: "The Crown Prosecution Service was approached in 1998 by both parties to the private prosecution and asked to take it over.
"At the time we concluded we would not intervene and the private prosecution went ahead.
"We provided documentation to the Hillsborough Independent Panel about the reasons behind this decision in 1998 and the panel has made no criticism of the CPS or the DPP over this."