Sunday, 21 August 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Visual identification of the body

A new question has arisen about the visual identification of the Harrowdown Hill body. First, I'll summarise the situation.

One of the questions that was not, so far as I'm aware, resolved at either the Hutton Inquiry or at the preliminary inquest session on 21st July 2003 is that of visual identification of the body.

There was no evidence given in either forum about visual identification by anyone who had, supposedly, identified the body.

At the Hutton Inquiry, ACC Page gives what amounts to hearsay evidence about visual identification. See page 203 of ACC Page's evidence given on the afternoon of Tuesday 23rd September 2003:

12 this, and again I stress because I am a police officer
13 and probably inherently suspicious, because dental
14 records are a means of identification it did prompt me
15 to take the extra precaution of having DNA checks
16 carried out to confirm that the body we had was the body
17 of Dr Kelly, notwithstanding the fact that that had been
18 identified by his family

Hearsay evidence is, at best, unsatisfactory.

Hearsay evidence given by a Police officer who can be demonstrated to have lied about the fingerprints on the dental records is of no value whatsoever, in my opinion. See The Death of David Kelly - Unreliability of the evidence of ACC Page regarding the dental records.

In reality, there has been no satisfactory identification evidence given either to the Hutton Inquiry or to the "inquest" (I use the term loosely) conducted by Nicholas Gardiner.

The new question that arises relates to the following part of Dr. Hunt's postmortem report:

FACE: The facial soft tissues were dissected to the level of the bone and there was no evidence of soft tissue or bony injury.

Put simply, Dr. Hunt was burrowing around under the skin of the face during his postmortem. See page 7 of the version put online by Dominic Grieve: Post mortem report by Dr Hunt 25 July 2003. The quoted text appears immediately after the text "(Page 7 Ends)".

The appearance of the face would, obviously, be altered by that dissection.

The question in my mind is the degree to which the appearance of the face would have been altered.

Could it have been altered so significantly that the face couldn't reliably be identified?

It's a question that needs to be answered, in my view.

Another question that needs to be answered is "Why was the facial tissue dissected?".

Dissecting the facial tissues had the potential to change the appearance of the face, thereby potentially reducing the reliability of any visual identification.

Was that the intention of the dissection?

1 comment:

  1. The gaps in information in the visual identification of the body are highlighted by the excision of the DNA evidence by Dominic Grieve from Mr. Green's forensic biology report: The Death of David Kelly - Why did Dominic Grieve conceal Appendix 2 of Mr. Green's report?.

    By a combination of the acts of Dr. Hunt, the lies of ACC Page and the censorship of Dominic Grieve it is an open question what the true identity of the body found at Harrowdown Hill may be.