Friday, September 24, 2010

Kelly papers to be reviewed

Law chief orders probe into secret files on death of Dr David Kelly

By James Slack and Miles Goslett

Last updated at 8:42 AM on 24th September 2010

Secret files on the death of Dr David Kelly will be handed over to medical experts to see if the suicide verdict can be challenged.

Ministers want independent advice on whether there are any discrepancies or unanswered questions in the post mortem examination report.

Home Office pathologist Nicholas Hunt concluded the weapons inspector died after cutting a small artery in his wrist. But a group of doctors campaigning for an inquest into Dr Kelly’s death claim he would not have lost enough blood to end his life.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve wants to establish whether they have a solid case.

The Mail can reveal the doctors have now begun legal action, calling on Mr Grieve to petition the High Court for an inquest.

Through their lawyers, Leigh Day & Co, the doctors have listed their reasons in a petition document known as a ‘memorial’.

It argues that Dr Kelly’s death was not sufficiently investigated and claims there are a large number of irregularities surrounding it. The decision to call in independent medical experts represents a breakthrough in their campaign.

It shows how seriously the Attorney General is treating their concerns about the official verdict, recorded by the Hutton Inquiry, that Dr Kelly committed suicide.

Last month, the Mail revealed how Mr Grieve had requested Dr Kelly’s post-mortem examination report from Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

Lord Hutton had instructed the papers should remain secret for 70 years. But Mr Grieve used special powers he holds to take control of the files – which campaigners believe could hold the key to the case.

He wants a group of entirely independent experts – likely to include doctors and a coroner – to study the documentation for any discrepancies which would justify the holding of an inquest.

The law states the High Court can only agree to hold the inquiry if there is ‘new evidence’ to challenge Lord Hutton’s verdict.

The process of studying the evidence is likely to take several months. In the meantime, Mr Clarke is considering a separate application for the post-mortem examination files to be made available to the public.

Dr Kelly’s family, including his widow Janice, have made it known they are opposed to the release of the files and the holding of an inquest.

Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods near his house in Oxfordshire in July 2003 shortly after he was unmasked as the key source of a BBC report suggesting the government lied to justify Britain’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Unusually, no coroner’s inquest has ever been held. Instead, the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, used an obscure law to appoint Lord Hutton to chair a public inquiry into his death.

In contrast to an inquest witnesses could not be compelled to give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Mr Grieve has said ‘people who have expressed concerns about why Lord Hutton did not tie up every loose end may have a valid point’. But he said he could not order a new probe ‘on a hunch’.

Lord Falconer said it was ‘a matter for others to decide’ if there should be an inquest.


Blogger brian in the tamar valley said...

This is a small step forward and should be welcomed. But it is not sufficient on its own. So yes there has to be a proper inquest even if the Kelly family don't want it. I'm afraid it is not up to them, it is a matter of following the well established judicial system and there should be no exceptions.

Regarding the post-mortem result being made available to the general public: definitely not. I would be interested in seeing it but in this instance the sensibilities of the family are more important. It seems to me that this possibility is being floated as an alternative to an inquest - how can the lay person make a judgement on something technical like this? No there is absolutely no alternative to a new inquest.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good points made above by @brian-in-the-tamar-valley. Releasing the p-m result would seem to be another wheeze to kick it all into the long grass again with tame journalists doing their usual job on the "new" information.
There is absolutely no alternative to a proper inquest. Just out of interest,how are the family's wishes communicated about an inquest and to or through whom? How do they "emerge"? Via Tom Mangold??

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Kelly was 'eliminated' by 'certain people' they would have the clout to see to it there would be no evidence left behind at the scene (the 'airline - ahem- are trained to do this) and if needs be indicate to the pathologist it might be favourable for him to lean in a certain direction (ie: JFK and Diana).

Do I sound a trifle, I can't think of the correct adjective.

Biased doesn't cover what I'm thinking.


The fact of the autopsy being instantly put on the secret list for 70 years has yet to be explained. Nothing said in the media so far indicates why the coroner's conclusions should have led to this. Quiet the opposite, in fact, Kelly's suicide was merely one of, unfortunately, many thousands per year.

And none of those others were ever put under a secrecy-order.

It is a question that I feel should be explained.

In this regard I must also bring up a similar 50 year-old case: that regarding Dr. Stephen Ward of the Profumo scandal. His files were also instantly put under a secrecy-order, though this time for 83 years. Accused of being a spy, an abortionist, he was never actually charged or tried for this, but was merely found guilty of being a pimp.

All for running 2 girls who seemingly were paid a couple of quid only once or twice.

The London-based Messina brothers ran about 300-500 girls (never actually confirmed) prior and during this same period, pocketing 100,000 pounds (est.) and only got ten years, out after five.

And their files were never made secret.

I think it's time we demand that Ward's files be released too.

10:00 PM  

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