Fresh legal bid to force inquest into Kelly's death

A fresh legal bid to force an inquest into the death of Government scientist David Kelly is to be launched within the next few days, it was disclosed today.



Formal legal papers are expected to be submitted to Attorney General Dominic Grieve by the end of the coming week, requesting his authorisation for a group of doctors to go to the High Court and seek an inquest.



If he refuses to grant the authorisation - known in legal language as a fiat - his decision could be subject to appeal at the High Court.



The five eminent doctors have conducted a long-running campaign to overturn the highly unusual decision not to hold an inquest into Dr Kelly's death in 2003, shortly after he was named as the source of reports challenging the Government's dossier of evidence on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.



Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death - which found that Kelly committed suicide - would take the place of a standard coroner's inquest.



The new legal move was prompted by an interview given last month by pathologist Nicholas Hunt, who carried out an autopsy on Dr Kelly's body.



Speaking to The Sunday Times, Dr Hunt stated that he found "big clots" of blood in the sleeve of Kelly's jacket and soaked into the ground and regarded the case as a "textbook" suicide - details which were not presented in evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.



Barrister Michael Powers QC, who is acting for the group of doctors, said that Dr Hunt's comments gave weight to their argument that Hutton's inquiry did not represent a sufficient examination of the cause of Dr Kelly's death.



Mr Powers told the Press Association: "The media has now presented evidence which we have never had before. The fact that he felt it necessary to go to the press and say these things proves to us that the inquiry was insufficient."



The details which Dr Hunt mentioned must have come from the medical report into Dr Kelly's death, which Lord Hutton controversially ruled should remain secret for 70 years, said Mr Powers.



The group of doctors are awaiting a decision from Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke over whether this ruling should be overturned to allow them to see the report.



The application for a fiat is being prepared by the doctors' legal representatives and is expected to be handed over to Mr Grieve by the end of the week.



He then has a period to decide whether to give the go-ahead for a High Court hearing, which would not be expected to take place for some weeks.



Mr Powers said the documents being presented to Mr Grieve would "request and require" the Government's most senior law officer to issue a fiat allowing the doctors to go the High Court with his authority to bring their demand for an inquest to its attention.



Doctors have questioned whether the cuts to the ulnar artery described to the Hutton Inquiry would have been enough - along with the consumption of a number of painkillers - to kill Dr Kelly.



They insist an inquest is needed to clear up once and for all any doubt over whether he was the victim of foul play.



But Dr Hunt told The Sunday Times he was in no doubt: "It was an absolute classic case of self-inflicted injury. You could illustrate a textbook with it.



"If it were anyone else and you were to suggest there's something foul about it, you would be referred for additional training. I would welcome an inquest, I've nothing to hide."



Mr Grieve has called in papers relating to Kelly's death and is considering whether he should himself order an inquest.



But Mr Powers said that granting the doctors a fiat would allow the Attorney General to provide an opportunity for the issues to be aired in the High Court without the Government having to take the initiative on what is inevitably a highly politically-charged subject.



"We can't wait indefinitely for the Government to make a decision," said Mr Powers. "Hence the decision to lay formal papers."



The current situation has left people concerned about Dr Kelly's death in a "guessing game", he said.



"The doctors' argument is that there has been insufficient inquiry into the death," he said.



"It has been insufficient because so many people without axes to grind but wanting to see the system of justice operate recognise that it has not provided answers to perfectly proper questions which were never asked, challenged or cross-examined at the Hutton Inquiry."



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Testing Manager

£30000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

£17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Consultant - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ope...

Recruitment Genius: Pricing & Purchasing Analyst

£15000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest independent ...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash