Fifth submission (of 12) by me to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve
From: STEPHEN FROST <stephen.frost@> Subject: FOR THE URGENT ATTENTION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOMINIC GRIEVE QC To: privateoffice@attorneygeneral, Kevin.McGinty@attorneygeneral Cc: grieved@parliament, jonesdi@parliament, fswaine@leighday, "Michael Powers Q.C." <powers@>, "david halpin" <dsh@>, chris.burns-cox@, birnstin@, monafay@, "Stephen Frost" <stephen.frost@> Date: Tuesday, 25 January, 2011, 21:31
FOR THE URGENT ATTENTION OF MR DUNCAN PARISH PPS TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Dear Mr Parish and Mr McGinty,
I should be grateful if you would pass that which appears below to the Attorney General for his urgent attention. This is a Hansard transcript of proceedings at the House of Lords on 8 January 2008. You will note that Lords Thomas, Berkeley and Stoddart have grave concerns about Lord Hutton's finding of suicide and that Lord Hunt is forced to concede that an inquest should be sought using Section 13 of the 1988 Coroners Act.
Copies of this are being sent to my MP David Jones (Conservative, Clwyd West), to our lawyers Frances Swaine and Dr Michael Powers QC and to Dr David Halpin, Dr Christopher Burns-Cox and Dr Andrew Rouse. Very sadly, one of the five doctors who submitted the Memorial to the Attorney General last September, Dr Martin Birnstingl, died last Friday 21 January 2011. He is also copied in until such time as we have been able to clarify with his family whether or not they wish to be kept informed of developments. Dr Birnstingl played a crucial role in our call for an inquest into Dr Kelly's death.
Could you please kindly confirm that this email has been received and that the Attorney General has been made aware of its contents?
(Dr) C Stephen Frost BSc MB ChB Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (Stockholm, Sweden)
8 Jan 2008 : Column 740
Dr David Kelly
Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty’s Government:
Whether, as a result of new evidence recently published, they will set up an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate in full the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, we have no plans to do so.
Lord Berkeley: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that Answer, but is he aware of the new book by Norman Baker MP, which collects a large amount of new evidence? I do not know whether he read it over the Christmas holiday, but it is quite a frightening read. It concludes that suicide by Dr Kelly would be extremely unlikely and is certainly not proven beyond reasonable doubt. As my noble friend will know, the Hutton inquiry was not statutory, and no evidence was taken under oath, so is it not now necessary for the Government to set up a proper statutory inquiry to investigate fully the circumstances of the death of this senior government employee?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I have read extracts from the report, which I would describe as a good Christmas read. There was a thorough inquiry by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hutton, who reached the conclusion that Dr Kelly committed suicide. He found that the cause of Dr Kelly’s death was:
“Haemorrhage ... Incised wounds to the left wrist ... Coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis”.
“satisfied that no other person was involved in the death of Dr Kelly”,
“A very careful and lengthy examination of the area where his body was found by police officers and by a forensic biologist found no traces whatever of a struggle or of any involvement by a third party ... The wounds to his wrist were inflicted by a knife which came from Dr Kelly’s desk in his study in his home, and ... It is highly unlikely that a third party or third parties could have forced Dr Kelly to swallow a large number of Coproxamol tablets”.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, the then Lord Chancellor, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, used an exceptional power to direct the coroner not to continue with the original inquest and not to resume it unless there was an exceptional reason. The inquiry of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hutton, is the only time this provision has been used in a non-statutory inquiry. Surely the new evidence that has come to light since the Hutton inquiry and to which Mr Norman Baker refers in his book is an exceptional reason, which requires the events to be fully investigated, witnesses to be called and cross-examined and a verdict to be reached beyond reasonable doubt, just as in the current lengthy inquest relating to the Princess of Wales.
8 Jan 2008 : Column 741
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: But, my Lords, the Hutton report was sent to the coroner at the end of the inquiry in accordance with Section 17A and, in an open court hearing on 14 March 2004, the coroner himself decided that there was no exceptional reason to resume the adjourned inquest. There is much supposition in the report but, if evidence there is, it is open to Mr Baker and any other person, if they wish, to seek a new inquest under Section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: My Lords, surely that is not good enough. The book by Mr Baker is well researched and shows that there is no evidence that Dr Kelly was suicidal in any way. Furthermore, Mr Baker absolves MI6 and the CIA from any blame but believes that perhaps some very nasty people in Iraq, who did not want things disclosed, might have been behind his death. Do we not owe it to Dr Kelly’s wife and family to have another, thorough inquiry in the light of this new evidence?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I do not think that any of us can speculate on what Dr Kelly’s family are thinking at the present time or around the tragic circumstances of his death some years ago. I have nothing further to add. The Government believe that the inquiry by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hutton, in this matter was conclusive. The noble and learned Lord set out the reasons for his conclusion. I say again that, if any person has evidence, they can take it to the authorities—to the police—and there is a procedure for a further inquest to be held. That is surely the approach that should be taken here.