Lord Hutton has warned that his report into the death of the government scientist Dr David Kelly might not be ready until next year.
The law lord had previously hinted that he would try to have the long-awaited findings published by December, if not next month.
But at the close of yesterday's special hearing, he said: "It may be that the report will not be delivered and published before the new year."
Lord Hutton said he had been requested by the Government to conduct the investigation urgently but warned that it was impossible to predict how long it would take to prepare his report. He had large amounts of oral evidence and documents to work through.
Yesterday's session was held to allow Sir Kevin Tebbit, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, to be cross-examined by counsel after his scheduled recall last month was postponed because he needed to have an eye operation.
¿ Baroness Amos, Leader of the House of Lords, turned down a Liberal Democrat request to publish the Attorney General's legal advice for sanctioning a war against Iraq.Reuse content