Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Death of David Kelly - Did Dr. Allan mislead Lord Hutton? Or was Lord Hutton the problem?

Right at the end of the transcript of oral evidence given on the morning of Wednesday 3rd September 2003 by Dr. Alexander Allan, toxicologist (see Pages 16 and 17 of the transcript), there is a particularly interesting interaction with Lord Hutton.

I quote it in full here:

17 LORD HUTTON: Mr Allan, if a third party had wanted
18 paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene to be found in
19 Dr Kelly's blood is there any way that the third party
20 could have brought that about by either persuading or
21 forcing Dr Kelly to take tablets containing those two
22 substances?
23 A. It is possible, but I think it would be --
24 LORD HUTTON: That is the only way that those substances
25 could be found in the blood, by taking tablets

1 containing them?
2 A. Yes, he has to ingest those tablets.

At Line 23 on Page 16 Dr. Allan begins to tell Lord Hutton that it is possible that Dr. Kelly could, in theory at least, have been forced or persuaded to take co-proxamol tablets.

It seems to me that Lord Hutton stops Dr. Allan making the point clearly.

However, when Lord Hutton pursues the question Dr. Allan, in my view, misleads Lord Hutton.

There are other theoretical possibilities than a conscious David Kelly voluntarily or under duress ingesting whole tablets.

If he was unconscious, or in some similar state, a nasogastric tube could have been passed and crushed tablets introduced into the stomach.

Neither Dr. Allan nor Lord Hutton seem to have considered the possibility that Dr. Kelly could have been unconscious.

In passing the pathologist, Dr. Hunt, noted some sort of abrasion on the lower lip (Page 9 of the Postmortem report) which might be consistent with a nasogastric tube having been passed.

Another possibility is that the components of co-proxamol were introduced intravenously.

If an intravenous injection took place in the region of the left wrist then, in all likelihood, any injection mark would have been obscured by the various other injuries in that area.

Were paracetamol or dextropropoxyphene introduced by nasogastric tube or intravenous injection? I don't know. More importantly, neither do Dr. Allan nor Lord Hutton.

A full answer by Dr. Allan, if he had been allowed by Lord Hutton to address the question fully and uninterrupted might have been something like this:

If we assume that Dr. Kelly was conscious then it is possible but unlikely that he could have been induced to or forced to take a large number of co-proxamol tablets orally.

However, if Dr. Kelly was unconscious, or similarly incapacitated, then crushed co-proxamol could have been introduced via a nasogastric tube or the components of co-proxamol could have been injected intravenously.

If the hypothetical nasogastric or intravenous administration took place then Dr. Kelly would have had to remain alive for at least a little time for dextropropoxyphene and its metabolites to be detected in Dr. Kelly's urine (see Page 4 of the Toxicology report).

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