Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cameron pre-empts Grieve?


David Cameron rules out further inquiries into death of Dr David Kelly

Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out further inquiries into the death of Dr David Kelly.

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor

4:37PM BST 18 May 2011

Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after he had been revealed as the source of a BBC report questioning the accuracy of a Government dossier arguing the case for war in Iraq.

The Hutton Inquiry in 2004 found that Dr Kelly had committed suicide, and then-Justice Secretary Lord Falconer ruled the inquiry could take the place of an inquest in the coroner's court.

However a group of doctors have since campaigned for a full inquest, pointing out that Lord Hutton spent only half a day of his 24-day inquiry considering the cause of Dr Kelly’s death.

Sir Peter Tapsell, a senior Tory backbencher, asked Mr Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Now that there is to be an investigation into the abduction or murder of Madeleine McCann, isn’t there a much stronger case for a full investigation into the suicide or murder of Dr David Kelly?”

Mr Cameron said while he welcomed the Metropolitan Police review into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, he was not supportive of a similar move in the case of Dr Kelly.

David Cameron said the Hutton report into the Government weapons inspector's death had been “fairly clear”, adding: “I don't think it's necessary to take that case forward.”

He said: “On the issue of Dr David Kelly, I thought the results of the inquest that were carried out and the report into it were fairly clear and I don’t think it is necessary to take that case forward.”

The remarks appeared to catch the office of the Attorney General off-guard, with officials suggesting that nothing had change. A spokesman for Mr Grieve’s office said he would announce “in due course” whether he will ask the High Court to order an inquest.

She said: “The Attorney General is still considering representations made and we will be making a decision in due course.

“He has not consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the issue and is undertaking the review in his public interest role. He is still considering the material and the representations made and will make his decision in due course.”

Dr Michael Powers, one of the doctors campaigning for the inquest, accused Mr Cameron of intervening in a decision which had to be determined “in law”.

He said: “It is remarkable that the PM should give his opinion on this matter, namely that he thinks previous inquiries into the death of Dr David Kelly are sufficient.

“It is a matter of law as to whether the inquiry of Lord Hutton was sufficient. It is for the Attorney General to consider all the evidence which has been placed before him and to reach a decision which can be justified in law.

“In short, whether or not there should be a fresh inquest into the death of Dr Kelly is a matter of law and not of politics.”

Last summer Mr Grieve signaled he was prepared to intervene in the controversy, admitting that those who doubted his suicide “may have a valid point”.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Grieve said he hoped to settle any concerns about the government scientist’s death to “give the public reassurance”.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Further helicopter involvement disclosed under FOI

Mystery of the helicopter that landed at scene of Dr Kelly's death after his body was found

By Miles Goslett

Last updated at 12:50 AM on 14th May 2011

A helicopter mysteriously landed at the scene of Dr David Kelly’s death shortly after the body was found.

The aircraft only remained on the ground for five minutes before leaving, suggesting it either deposited or collected somebody or something.

Details from its flight log, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the helicopter – hired by Thames Valley police – landed at Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire at 10.55am on July 18, 2003, 90 minutes after the body was discovered by volunteer search teams.

Significantly, the flight log has been heavily redacted, making it impossible to know who was on board or what its exact purpose was.

The flight was not mentioned in oral evidence at the Hutton Inquiry, set up by Tony Blair to investigate Dr Kelly’s death.

Dr Andrew Watt, who has previously raised questions about the suicide finding reached by Lord Hutton, has written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve drawing his attention to the flight.

Dr Watt, a clinical pharmacologist, said: ‘If the purpose of the helicopter flight was innocent, one has to ask why it was kept secret.’