Monday, 28 February 2011

The Death of David Kelly - The need for expert review of Professor Hawton's evidence

This email largely consists of the content of an email I sent to the Attorney General on 21st February 2011.

Professor Hawton was the psychiatrist who gave evidence at the Hutton Inquiry that David Kelly (allegedly) committed suicide.

The title of the email to the Attorney General was:

David Kelly - The need for expert review of Prof Hawton's evidence

The text of the email was:

Mr McGinty,

This email is for the attention of the Attorney General in relation to a possible application to the High Court for an order that an inquest be conducted into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

A few weeks ago you informed me that the Attorney General was seeking the assistance of a forensic pathologist. Such seems entirely reasonable in the circumstances.

You made no mention at that time of the Attorney General seeking the assistance of an expert in psychiatry regarding the evidence of Professor Hawton.

I would firmly suggest that such expert review of the psychiatric evidence given to Hutton by Professor Hawton is necessary. I will attempt briefly to explain why below.

I am afraid that the least impolite term I can come up with regarding Professor Hawton's evidence to the Hutton Inquiry (or at least parts of it) is "nonsense".

Let me explain.

In his oral evidence to the Hutton Inquiry Professor Hawton relates in detail a conversation (or conversations) with Janice Kelly. His conclusion is that David Kelly was under huge pressure on the morning of 17th July 2003.

However, so far as I can see, Professor Hawton entirely fails to consider and/or give evidence about the mental state of Janice Kelly. In my view that failure on the part of Professor Hawton applies both to his consideration of events on 17th July 2003 and at the time of the interview(s).

In his oral evidence Professor Hawton ignores the possibility that what we are hearing about regarding 17th July 2003 is, to a material extent, anxiety on the part of Janice Kelly and/or a migraine attack (possibly precipitated by the just mentioned anxiety).

To ignore such a factor, I suggest, makes Professor Hawton's evidence on this crucial point of the events of 17th July 2003 to be of little value, at best.

If Professor Hawton had expressed a careful consideration of the colour that Janice Kelly's mental state on 17th July 2003 gave to her statements I believe his opinion would have been of more value.

Professor Hawton also failed, so far as I can establish, to give due weight to Janice Kelly's mental state at the time of interview.

I understand that Janice Kelly blamed herself (and, perhaps, continues to blame herself) in significant measure for David Kelly's "suicide" at least in part because of the possibility that it was her pills that he had allegedly ingested.

If the information I have been given is correct, then Janice Kelly's statements to Professor Hawton require meticulous reappraisal in light of this seeming burden of guilt carried by Janice Kelly.

Further, Professor and Hawton and Dr. Hunt, interestingly, seem to share conjectures. I would state, straightforwardly, that sharing and combining unsubstantiated conjectures does not make a sound logical case. I hope to sent a detailed critique to the Attorney General later this week regarding Dr. Hunt's written and oral evidence. I plan to examine the validity or otherwise of those conjectures in that document.

One very specific issue that a psychiatric expert would need to be informed of relates to whether or not Dr. Kelly had a motive on 17th July 2003 to commit suicide. The expert would need access to the letter of 15th July 2003 from Donald Anderson to Jack Straw and the transcript of the Intelligence and Security Committee hearing on 16th July 2003 (see page 14). The latter shows, in my view, that David Kelly was "in the clear" and knew it.

The supposed motive on 17th July 2003 for suicide put forward at the Hutton Inquiry, in my view, evaporates in light of those documents.

The documents just mentioned considered together with the questions relating to Janice Kelly's statements to Professor Hawton renders an expert re-appraisal of Professor Hawton's evidence a requirement, in my view.

In passing I would just mention that the statement from the BBC on 20th July 2003 cannot have been in David Kelly's mind on 17th July 2003. It is important that an expert reviewer avoids the potential anachronism in his/her thinking potentially created by the BBC statement (whatever one may think about its credibility or otherwise).

I would be grateful if you would acknowledge receipt of this email.

In due course, I would be grateful if you could inform me of whether or not the Attorney General has decided to seek re-appraisal of Professor Hawton's evidence by a suitably qualified and experienced expert in psychiatry.

Thank you

(Dr) Andrew Watt

1 comment:

  1. A huge amount of signficance is attached to Prof Hawton's report the way it is presented at the end of Lord Hutton's report (Chapter 12. It is placed to override all other evidence to the contrary.