Friday, 20 August 2010

What on earth to do over the death of Dr Kelly.....

I have always been suspicious about circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, and how its aftermath was dealt with by the authorities.

I was, therefore, very interested in how the new UK government, which was critical of Labour’s handling of the situation, would react to the disquiet that is felt about the possibility of a cover up.

Today's news is that English Attorney General Dominic Grieve is prepared to intervene, although he vacillates a bit saying he doesn’t have any actual evidence to suggest that there was a cover-up. Then he admits that it is important to investigate the matter properly so that the public can have confidence in the outcome, but says that it's the job of the English Justice Secretary to release the papers.

Certainly, in opposition he seemed stronger in his condemnation.

The original inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death, which was chaired by Brian Hutton, an establishment man with a superb pedigree, was held in place of a normal open inquest and labelled a whitewash at the time, most particularly by the Independent newspaper. Now doctors who have studied the cas
e are casting doubt on fact that it was physically possible for Kelly to have killed himself in the manner accepted by Hutton, who is, for all his legal experience, not a coroner.

Hutton’s insistence that the papers on the case, including the post mortem report, be buried for 70 years, seems an extreme measure to take in order to protect Dr Kelly's family from pain. After all people are exposed to the pain of relatives’ deaths, even by suicide, reasonably frequently, and they are not protected by the force of law from knowing the full facts for 70 years.

Given the enormity of the consequences of the possibility that there was a cover up (and of what was covered up), the possible involvement of the government and the then prime minister, Tony Blair, I would have thought that it was essential to get this matter cleared up as quickly as possible. The importance of it is fundamental to people’s trust in the integrity of government. So, in theory, it needs to be resolved.

But on the other hand, what is the likelihood of any government, even one so opposed to Blair’s New Labour as the current bunch, allowing it to be found that a government department was involved in covering up the death of a very senior and extremely knowledgeable weapons expert who doubted the veracity of the content of a government approved 'dodgy dossier' and. therefore. the justifications for war.....and was prepared to say so to the BBC?

Can anyone seriously imagine this?

No, I thought not. So there's our moral dilemma. Do we have another inquiry into the inquiry, that will surely find pretty much the same thing as the first inquiry... because that's the only explanation that any government can allow, or should we save the money that an inquiry would cost and accept we'll never know the truth....because they don't want us to know the truth?


  1. What we need is not another inquiry but a new inquest! With an inquest a coroner would have power to subpoena witnesses (Hutton didn't), would take evidence under oath (Hutton didn't) and a verdict could be delivered by a jury rather than one individual. Also for a suicide verdict to be returned then suicide would have to be proved "beyond reasonable doubt". Clearly this didn't happen with Hutton. That doesn't mean a verdict of murder would necessarily result: an inquest jury could come to an 'open verdict' conclusion.

  2. Whilst like you I suspect that not everything is known about the odd death of Dr Kelly, I suspect even if there were a suicide verdict it wouldn't satisfy a lot of people. Bit like the weird stuff that pops up over the twin towers and other conspiracy magnets.
    Be nice though if a finger of blame was pointed at the state.

  3. It would be impossible for a British government to admit that a previous government would stoop to such chicanery in the same way that the present Scottish Government, despite their own doubts, pays lip-service to the justice system that imprisoned Megrahi.

  4. Hello Brian. Nice to see you on Munguin's Republic. Thanks for your comment, with which I agree. It is diaboical that the government can bypass the normal legal requirements when it pleases them, siting security, I have no doubt, as a reason that Dr Kelly's death shouldn't be treated like anyone else's

    I can recommend Brian's our article about this:

    Hope you'll drop back in from time to time...although we're a long way from Kernow!

  5. QM: I agree. Another inquiry wouldn't satisfy us. Of course Brian's suggestion that there be an inquest would be worth exploring, but probably ruled out as it is very difficult (but not impossible) to noble a coroner and a jury of however many it is you have in England.

  6. Spot on Brownlie.

    We won't get an inquest because it might find out that Hutton was doing the bidding of the government and washing whiter than Persil and Daz together....

    What a corrupt set of countries we inhabit.

  7. That Hutton guy looks like Murphy's father - if he's got one....

  8. Murphy? Father? hmmmm... nope, not computing with me.... try later.