Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Sexed up" Report on the Death of David Kelly

"Sexed up" Report on the Death of David Kelly: Lord Hutton Findings challenged by Medical Doctors
by Drs. Stephen Frost and Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin
Global Research, November 28, 2006
Global Research Editorial NoteOn November 3, 2006, The Times published a letter by Lord Hutton regarding the circumstances of Dr. David Kelly's death. In this letter, Lord Hutton dwells largely on the issue of "sexed up" intelligence rather than on the circumstances and causes of Dr. David Kelly's death. The inquiry was supposed to be an inquest. Suicide was always assumed but suicide was in fact never established. In this regard, it was not only the intelligence which had been "sexed up", the Hutton Report, which assumed suicide without proof, had "sexed up" its findings to implement a coverup and undermine due process. A response to Lord Hutton was drafted and submitted by three distinguished doctors to The Times, which refused to publish it and declined to give a reason. We bring to the attention of our readers the text of the letter which the Times refused to publish.
It is important to note, in this regard, that Drs. C. Stephen Frost, Searle Sennett and David Halpin succeeded in breaking the mainstream media silence on the possibility that Dr David Kelly did not commit suicide, with a letter in The Guardian on the eve of publication of the Hutton Report. They were subsequently joined by other doctors and lawyers. The original November 3 letter by Lord Hutton to the Times is reprinted in Annex, together with links to the texts of Dr. Frost et al. letters published in The Guardian and The New Statesman.
Global Research, 28 November 2008
TEXT OF RESPONSE TO LORD HUTTON
by Drs. Stephen Frost, Christopher Burns-Cox and David Halpin

Dear Sir

Lord Hutton presided over an inquiry which sought to apportion blame between the BBC and the Government for the "suicide" of Dr David Kelly when no "verdict" of suicide had been (and still has not been) reached. His report was widely labelled a "whitewash", because he was perceived to apportion that blame unfairly (given the evidence he had heard), all but exonerating the Government, and placing the blame almost entirely on the BBC. Now, in his letter published in the Times (3 November 2006), he seemingly seeks to defend his report by setting out his case re the minutiae of the "45 minute claim".

Lord Hutton misses the essential point. What is more, it appears that he was used by the Government to subvert due process in establishing precisely how Dr Kelly died. We and several other medical colleagues (and lawyers) attempted in a series of six letters published in The Guardian and one in the New Statesman to inform the public, and the mainstream press, that all doctors learn at medical school that, in order to return a "verdict" of "suicide", a coroner must prove suicide beyond reasonable doubt (a very high level of proof), including "intent" to commit suicide, also beyond reasonable doubt. If the Coroner cannot achieve the necessary level of proof, he is required by law to return an "open verdict", assuming that "foul play" has at the outset been excluded in the proper manner. Unfortunately, there is some doubt as to whether "foul play" was properly excluded in the case of Dr Kelly. However, disregarding any such failure in such a high-profile death, it is important to understand that the public was invited to believe that Dr Kelly's death would be better investigated at the Hutton Inquiry than at a coroner's inquest, when the exact opposite was the case.

Lord Hutton possessed none of the powers normally available to the Coroner. He could not (and did not) hear evidence under oath, he could not subpoena witnesses, he could not aggressively cross-examine witnesses, and he could not call a jury. Not enough with that, his inquiry was an "ad hoc" inquiry, not a public inquiry (as the public and the press were led to believe) subject to the provisions of the Public Inquiries Act !921 (itself quietly repealed last year and replaced by the Inquiries Act 2005). Lord Hutton was invited (and consented) by Lord Falconer (the Lord Chancellor and the Minister for Constitutional Affairs) to conduct an inquiry on the very day that Dr Kelly's body was allegedly found. Later, Lord Falconer, used his powers as Lord Chancellor to invoke Section 17a of the 1988 Coroners' Act and order the Oxfordshire Coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, to "adjourn indefinitely" his inquest. But, Section 17a had become law on 1 January 2000, largely, it is believed, at the instigation of Lord Falconer. Its purpose was allegedly to obviate duplication of inquiry following multiple death scenarios (eg train disasters), when the cause of death could to some extent be assumed. But, Dr Kelly's death was a solitary death. In addition, Lord Hutton's remit and powers (since it was an "ad hoc" inquiry) were determined by Lord Falconer. Lord Hutton's remit was extremely narrow (and Lord Hutton seemingly sought to narrow it further), and his powers were very limited, so limited in fact that Lord Hutton could not prove anything, let alone "suicide". After all, Lord Hutton was directed by Lord Falconer to do no more than "inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly", and it appears that establishing the cause of Dr Kelly's death was not viewed as a priority. But, the cause of the death should have been THE priority in an inquiry which eventually purported to obviate the need for a full inquest.

Despite all this, the Coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, on 16 March 2004, thought fit to conclude that there was no "exceptional reason" for him to re-open the Inquest, and even deferred to Lord Falconer by saying that he (Lord Falconer) was happy with the findings of Lord Hutton, and then went on to say "and so am I". Given the obvious "insuffiency of inquiry" re the cause of Kelly's death over which Lord Hutton presided, he (the Coroner) should not have been sharing in Lord Falconer's happiness. In addition, the Coroner was surely extremely unwise to talk to the Mail on Sunday some weeks before his final hearing in March 2004, saying that he wished to achieve "closure" at his coming hearing, and hinting at that stage that he could see no "exceptional reason" to re-open the Inquest.

Apparently, it is unprecedented for judges to discuss publicly their findings, as Lord Hutton has done, not once, but twice. But, then, it is unprecedented for the Government to lead the public to believe that a "verdict" of suicide has been reached, and the Inquest "closed", when no such verdict could be reached, and for that reason the Inquest could not be closed.

Dr David Kelly is the first British citizen to be denied an inquest in such circumstances. Given the clear "insufficiency of inquiry", regarding the cause of death over which Lord Hutton presided, the Coroner should have re-opened the Inquest. There are unconfirmed reports that he (the Coroner) now regrets that he did not do so. It is our view that if the Coroner is not able at this late stage to reverse his decision, a fresh inquest should be ordered.

Yours faithfully

C Stephen Frost, BSc MB ChB Specialist in Diagnostic Radiology (Stockholm, Sweden)
stephen.frost@btinternet.com
Christopher Burns-Cox, MD FRCP

David Halpin, FRCS