Kelly family hits out at Hutton over MoD failures

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The family of David Kelly has criticised Lord Hutton for the first time for his failure to lay more responsibility for the scientist's suicide with the Ministry of Defence.

The family of David Kelly has criticised Lord Hutton for the first time for his failure to lay more responsibility for the scientist's suicide with the Ministry of Defence.

Jeremy Gompertz QC, the family's lawyer, was scathing about the MoD's breach of the duty of care to its employee at a special hearing yesterday at which Nicholas Gardiner, the Oxfordshire coroner, refused to reopen the inquest into Dr Kelly's death. Mr Gardiner said there were no exceptional circumstances to justify reconvening the inquest into the weapons expert's death. The inquest was adjourned last year under Section 17A of the 1998 Coroner's Act to allow the Hutton inquiry to conduct its own investigation into the affair.

Mr Gompertz accepted Lord Hutton's findings "as to the mode and approximate cause of Dr Kelly's death", but he added: "The family is disappointed that Lord Hutton did not consider more fully the extent to which the state of mind in which Dr Kelly took his own life was induced by the failings of the Ministry of Defence in the exercise of the duty of care owed to him as his employer." Mr Gompertz told the court that, in the view of the family, there were no reasons to justify reopening the inquest.

Mr Gardiner agreed, saying he had taken into account the Coroner's Act, the extent of Lord Hutton's public inquiry and any other considerations under human rights legislation. He said he had received a large amount of correspondence from interested parties, but stressed that "no properly interested persons have attempted to persuade me" to reopen the case.He added. "I would express the wish that at least his widow and family be allowed to grieve in peace."

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