Call for Kelly inquest to resume

The inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly should be resumed, a group of doctors said

The inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly should be resumed, a group of doctors said

First published in National News © by

A group of doctors which has been investigating the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly has written to the Chief Coroner calling for his inquest to be resumed and the suicide verdict re-examined.

In a letter to Judge Peter Thornton QC, they said there had been "deficiencies in legal processes" which meant Dr Kelly's inquest had never been formally closed, no final death certificate had been issued and no cause of death had been confirmed by a coroner.

They also said that the first police officer at the scene of Dr Kelly's death had changed his account of how his body was positioned, bolstering claims that it had been moved.

Dr Kelly's body was found near his Oxfordshire home in 2003 shortly after he was identified as the source of a BBC report about the Government's dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The doctors, led by radiologist Stephen Frost, have long campaigned for a full inquiry into how Dr Kelly died. They argue that the Hutton Inquiry, which effectively superseded the work of the Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner, was inadequate.

They say that Lord Hutton merely accepted the opinion of the pathologist without proper investigation and lacking the experience, qualification or legal authority to confirm the cause of death.

"Any reasonable person would accept that the lack of adequate inquiry into the cause of death and the production of the new, uninvestigated evidence relating to the suicide conclusion provides overwhelming and exceptional reasons for this inquest to be resumed, the cause of death properly investigated, any new evidence admitted, the cause of death properly certified and the proceedings formally closed," they wrote.

In the letter, which has been copied to the Lord Chief Justice, the Lord Chancellor and the Oxfordshire Coroner, they call for the inquest to be resumed with witnesses giving evidence under oath, in front of a jury.

They said relevant members of Thames Valley police should be called to give evidence and all information made available to the Hutton Inquiry provided for consideration. The suicide verdict should be proved beyond all doubt, they said.

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve rejected calls for an inquest in 2011 following a lengthy review of the case. Mr Grieve found there was no possibility that an inquest would reach a different conclusion from the Hutton Inquiry, which found in 2004 that Kelly committed suicide.

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