Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Improper conduct by Lord Hutton and James Dingemans QC

This post consists largely of a communication sent earlier today to the Attorney General's Office.

In that communication I draw to the Attorney General's attention three points regarding which it is my opinion that Lord Hutton and James Dingemans QC behaved in an inappropriate and improper manner.

I suspect that raising such issues with the Attorney General regarding the conduct of a senior judge and counsel may not have been done before.

It will be interesting, therefore, to see what weight the Attorney General places on the opinion that I've expressed in the email.

The title of the email was:
David Kelly - Improper conduct by Lord Hutton and James Dingemans QC

The text of the email was:

Mr. McGinty,

This communication is intended for the attention of the Attorney General in connection with his consideration of whether or not an application should be made to the High Court for an order that an inquest be held into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

In this email I draw to the Attorney General's attention an issue regarding which I consider there to have been "irregularity of proceedings" in the meaning of Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988.

In the remainder of this email I will attempt to explain why I reach the conclusion expressed in the preceding paragraph.

I summarise the irregularities that I consider material under the following heads:

1. The visit to Janice Kelly of 26th July 2003
2. Attending the funeral on 6th August 2003
3. Funding by the Inquiry of the Kelly family legal expenses

1. The visit to Janice Kelly of 26th July 2003

On 26th July 2003 both Lord Hutton and James Dingemans had a private meeting with the Kelly family ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/conspiracy_files/6380231.stm ):

Lord Hutton has a private meeting with Janice Kelly and immediate family members which lasts an hour. He is accompanied by James Dingemans QC, senior counsel to the Inquiry.

The purposes of that meeting have, so far as I'm aware, not fully been publicly disclosed.

The only publicly disclosed purpose of the meeting is to seek Mrs. Kelly's agreement to participate in the Hutton Inquiry. See http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/hi-pn280703.htm .

Could there have been any realistic question of her not participating? If there had been disinclination to participate, the question arises as to what "price" Mrs. Kelly exacted from Lord Hutton for her agreement to take part?

It seems to me that such agreement from Mrs. Kelly should have been sought in a way which was less visibly part of the then-current political circus.

It seems to me that it was wholly inappropriate and improper for Lord Hutton and James Dingemans to have had a private meeting with any party to the Hutton Inquiry.

The potential for tainting of the required judicial impartiality is obvious.

Similarly, in the absence of evidence of comparable private meetings being held with other interested parties, the potential for the counsel to the Hutton Inquiry being inappropriately sympathetic to Kelly family witnesses and therefore "going easy" in his questioning of Mrs. Kelly and other family members is also apparent.

Having demonstrated the lack of judgment, which I have described, in meeting with the Kelly family it is my view that Lord Hutton and James Dingemans had disqualified themselves from their respective roles and should have resigned from those roles.

The effect, I submit, of that private meeting is to render the Hutton Inquiry void as a judicial inquiry of demonstrable impartiality. In my view all subsequent procedure in the Hutton Inquiry and its subsuming by the stump inquest by Nicholas Gardiner in March 2004 are tainted.

A lack of impartiality with respect to the Kelly family, expressed as inappropriate lack of rigour in questioning, would go far to explain the surprising failure of Lord Hutton and Mr. Dingemans to identify and further explore the questionable aspects of the evidence of Janice and Rachel Kelly.

(I anticipate returning to the unreliable nature of parts of those testimonies in a futher communication. I raised concerns regarding one aspect of Rachel Kelly's evidence in my communication to the Attorney General of 27th January 2011 entitled "Dr. David Kelly - Insufficient inquiry into David Broucher's evidence" which is available online here:
http://chilcotscheatingus.blogspot.com/2011/01/death-of-david-kelly-insufficiency-of.html )

2. Attending the funeral on 6th August 2003

On 6th August 2003 both Lord Hutton and James Dingemans also attended the funeral of David Kelly at Longworth.

Hutton and Dingemans may be seen at the funeral in the video available online here: http://www.itnsource.com/compilations/datesanddecades/2000s/?lr=S26100603 .

The video of the funeral is Clip 59.

I know of no other occurrence of a judge in a judicial inquiry behaving in such a matter.

Again, I suggest that such behaviour is wholly inconsistent with the impartiality and detachment from the parties required of a judge and senior counsel in a properly conducted judicial inquiry.

My conclusion is that, following these departures from due process, in continuing in their respective roles Lord Hutton and James Dingemans QC behaved inappropriately and improperly with the effect that there was "irregularity of proceedings" in the meaning of Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988.

3. Funding by the Inquiry of the Kelly family legal expenses

In addition to the inappropriate closeness to the Kelly family mentioned in the preceding two heads, the Hutton Inquiry also showed partiality to that family by the Hutton Inquiry's funding the Kelly family's legal costs. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

This, too, I view as "irregularity of proceedings".

The funding by the Hutton Inquiry of the Kelly family legal expenses is disclosed here:

Of course, it can be argued that the public purse should bear the Kelly family's legal costs, in all the circumstances. It is my submission that for the Hutton Inquiry to fund those costs is both inappropriate and improper.

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

Thank you.

(Dr) Andrew Watt


  1. I remember something from the time when Hoon refused to pay for the Kelly famiy's legal costs out of the MoD, instead it was left for the Hutton bash to put up the dosh.

    In any event it appears to be money wasted.

  2. There was nothing regular about Hutton's proceedings


  3. LL links to evidence to the Public Administration Committee given by Lee Hughes, who had been secretary to the Hutton Inquiry.

    This should be a working link: House of Commons - Public Administration Committee - Written Evidence.

  4. Notice in the Lee Hughes Memorandum at 2.2 that Lord Hutton has appointed James Dingemans as Senior Councel on the same day that he, Lord Hutton, had agreed to chair the Inquiry.

    Very, very quick!

  5. Dingemans had impressed Lord Hutton in cases when he had appeared before the judge, according to Alan Watkins, Independent 3 August 2003, so I think they came as a pair.

    A judicial inquiry had already been mooted by Charles Kennedy on the Radio 4 Today programme, 1 July 2003 concerning the dossiers and the intelligence around them, and subsequentlyraised in Parliament on 16 July 2003, (see para 273) by him.