Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Death of David Kelly - The absence of oral identification evidence to the Hutton Inquiry

One of the four fundamental things that an inquest is required to establish is who died.

At the Hutton Inquiry that basic fact, of who died, was never established properly in oral evidence.

Of course, it may well be that the body found at Harrowdown Hill was that of David Kelly but Lord Hutton had a duty to establish that fact but failed to do so.

The remainder of this post consists of an email sent to the Attorney General on 24th February 2011.

The title of the email was:

Death of David Kelly - No oral evidence of identification of the body

The content of the email was:

Mr McGinty,

I would be grateful if this document could be considered by the Attorney General in his examination of whether an inquest is needed into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

I write to draw to the Attorney General's attention that at the Hutton Inquiry no oral evidence was presented relating to the identification of the body found at Harrowdown Hill.

I consider that this omission of evidence of identification constitutes a serious "insufficiency of inquiry" in the meaning of Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988.

Janice Kelly, Dr. Kelly's widow, was not asked at the Hutton Inquiry whether she had identified the body.

Nor was any other family member asked.

With respect to identification of the body, nobody (so far as I can trace) gave oral evidence to the Hutton Inquiry to the effect that the body was that of Dr. David Kelly.

This seems to me to be a foundational omission that requires to be rectified by a properly conducted inquest.

The only indirect mention of identification of the body that I can find is in ACC Page's second evidential session where he states, "notwithstanding the fact that [the body] had been identified by his family". See page 203 at http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/transcripts/hearing-trans42.htm .

ACC Page also claims (but gives no supporting evidence for) that DNA evidence identified the body as being David Kelly.

Assertion about technical evidence by a non-expert does not, in my view, constitute evidence.

Section 11(5)(b) of the Coroners Act 1988 refers to the establishing of "who the deceased was" as a matter that, so far as possible, had been "proved".

In the absence of oral identification evidence I contend that it is inappropriate to consider that "who the deceased was" has been appropriately "proved".

I would state straightforwardly that assertion by a third party (ACC Page) is not a sufficient substitute for evidence.

The Attorney General is aware that questions exists about the time of death of the body found at Harrowdown Hill. In that context the absence of identification evidence in oral testimony at the Hutton Inquiry is not, I submit, a matter that can legitimately be lightly dismissed.

I would be grateful if you would confirm safe receipt of this communication and that it will be considered by the Attorney General.

Thank you

(Dr) Andrew Watt

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