Saturday, 26 March 2011

An open letter to David Cameron from "The Doctors"

The doctors who wrote "The Memorial" and sent it to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve last September, and who have subsequently submitted an addendum to the Memorial have just written an open letter to the UK's Prime Minister David Cameron.  The text can be read here:

I have no need to comment on the text because it makes the necessary points perfectly in my opinion.  It should leave Cameron and the government in no doubt at all that they will be seen as complicit in the cover up if Mr Grieve doesn't progress the application for an inquest.  

Friday, 25 March 2011

Letter from Miriam Stevenson to the Attorney General

Both Dr Andrew Watt (author of and myself have written letters to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve MP with reasoned argument as to why an inquest now needs to be held into the death of Dr David Kelly.  As Andrew and I both write blogs it is obviously easy for us to put our respective letters into the public domain so others can read the points we have made to Mr Grieve.

Of course there are others who have made submissions to the Attorney General and one such person is Miriam Stevenson who lives in Australia.  Miriam has kindly agreed to her letter being reproduced on this blog and the text is below:

12th Feb 2011.
Address withheld
To: Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General, UK
Dear Mr Grieve,
Regarding the re-opening of the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly
I am writing to you with some concerns and I hope you will respond via email.
I have followed the case of Dr David Kelly since I heard of his death in July 2003. This is a long time ago, too long ago.
I am a professional social worker and post- graduate researcher who is well used to working within legal frameworks and following processes which flow from these frameworks. I have extensive experience in the Child Protection and other fields. I completed my Masters’ degree in a faculty of law and am currently working on my doctoral thesis.
In my view, there can be no possible dispute that there must be a new inquest into the death of David Kelly. To refuse this is to deny that due process exists. As noted in the doctors’ December 2010 Memorial1: of the six criteria for the re-opening of an inquest into a death laid down in statute under British law, all six are met when only one has to exist.
As most lay people are now aware, Freedom of Information requests have established that: there were/are no fingerprints on the knife with which Dr Kelly is alleged to have deliberately and fatally cut himself; there were/are no fingerprints on the blister packs of co-proxamol which are said to have contributed to his death; there were/are no fingerprints on the water bottle, watch or mobile phone found adjacent to his body.2 These issues alone fatally undermine the verdict of suicide.
It is a travesty of justice that this information had to be sought and obtained by members of the public rather than revealed in the course of an inquest or the Hutton Inquiry. What are people paying their taxes for?
Incidentally, I am most surprised that an esteemed ‘expert’ such as Professor Hawton offered reasons as to why Dr Kelly would have taken his own life without checking this basic information for himself! I also note that he did not cite one piece of research evidence in support of his assessment that Dr Kelly’s experiences and mental state might precipitate suicide. This is most unusual as from around 2000 most (highly regarded) professionals were increasingly required to substantiate courtroom claims via reference to research evidence in the name of ‘evidence - based practice’.3
I do not intend to comment further on the Memorial other than to say you have been provided with an authoritative case by the doctors and, if you have integrity, you must support their position. I believe that the doctors have been representing, without prejudice, the interests of thinking British Citizens on what is essentially a fundamental Human Rights matter- the Right to Life. 4 5 Dr Kelly’s life was taken from him (it seems) and the duty of the coroner is to “speak for the dead in order to protect the living”, as accurately described by the Canadians.6 For the sake of both Dr Kelly and us still ‘living’, a new inquest needs to be held.
There are two further issues that I would like to address and I would appreciate your comments.
Protecting the Kelly family
Firstly there is Lord Hutton’s assertion (and sporadic media argument) that the feelings of Dr Kelly’s family need to be ‘protected’. Although I am aware that the post-mortem report has been published, there are still a number of documents relating to this case which are covered by a secrecy act. Clear explanation around the reason for continued secrecy of some files connected with Dr Kelly’s death has never been given and a number of points need to be made:
  1. I have every sympathy for any grieving family and especially for relatives of Dr Kelly as his death was also highly public and political because of his role as an eminent weapons inspector. On this matter however, I would remind you that the parents of Victoria Climbie had to sit through a very searching public inquiry into the horrific torture and murder of their young daughter.7 They had to listen to accounts of how key agencies failed to protect her. These parents graciously did so, because it was necessary for British Citizens to know what had happened to Victoria. From this searching inquiry, agencies could be better informed about child protection practice. Similarly, the death of Dr Kelly and the absence of WMD in Iraq have continuing implications for all British Citizens regarding the integrity of the UK justice system and UK government. Please comment.

  1. You will be aware that in the case of the parents of children killed in the Dunblane tragedy that many of them objected to evidence relating to the circumstances of death being hidden by a public secrecy order.8 In my professional experience most loving families want to know the absolute truth about what happened to their loved ones at the time of death whether the death was expected or not. Please comment.

  1. As a legal practitioner, you will be well aware that abuse and murder both occur within families. Much as we would like to believe all families operate in a loving and functional manner and in the best interests of their members, the law cannot and must not make this assumption for this reason. Even where abuse is perpetrated or murder committed by individuals outside of the family, there are often many reasons as to why family members may not honestly speak out; witness intimidation or fear of retribution may be at play. Please comment.
The Ditchley Foundation
My second point relates to your position as a governor of the Ditchley Foundation.9 I understand that this charity was set up to ‘promote Anglo-American understandings’ and has a fairly wide-ranging agenda. I understand that participation in its governance and conferences is by invitation only.
As an interested and active citizen, I took the time to examine some details. Stemming from your involvement in this Foundation I have a number of queries:
  1. I note that Sir Kevin Tebbit, Sir David Omand, Sir Peter Ricketts and Rt Hon Jack Straw are all fellow governors of the Ditchley Foundation.10 Kevin Tebbit and David Omand were both key witnesses at the Hutton Inquiry.11 Peter Ricketts’ name appears in at least one Hutton document and Jack Straw was the Foreign Secretary (2001-2006) who, we since find, ignored expert legal advice that the proposed invasion of Iraq was, in fact, illegal.12

In the event of a new inquest into the death of Dr Kelly, any of these people may be called to give evidence under oath and may eventually be more rigorously cross-examined as to their knowledge of circumstances surrounding his death. Under these conditions they may be required to, perhaps, state something new or different. In making the decision as to whether to apply yourself to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Dr Kelly or to give leave to the doctors involved to seek leave to apply to the High Court for a re-opened inquest, can you honestly give all assurances that you would not be placed in any ‘conflict of interest’ situation with regard to your association with the above-named parties via governance of the Ditchley Foundation?

  1. Secondly, I note that Judith “Jami” Miscik, is a member of the board of the American Ditchley Foundation.13 Apparently Ms Miscik served as the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence between 2002 and 2005 during which time she was responsible for all CIA analysis and preparation for the Presidents Daily Brief.14 This means Ms Miscik was involved with the US administration throughout the whole phase which encompassed the preparation of the Iraq dossier and the invasion of Iraq. The intimate relationship between the UK and US administrations in this timeframe is well documented.15 These constitute two factors which are intimately associated with the Dr Kelly case as evidenced in the Hutton Inquiry. This in turn may indicate that Ms Miscik also had and/or has some connection with individuals who may be called to give evidence at a re-opened inquest. Through her position on the board of the American Ditchley Foundation it would certainly appear that Ms Miscik also has a connection with yourself.

In making the decision as to whether to apply yourself to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Dr Kelly or to give leave to the doctors involved to apply to the High Court for a re-opened inquest, can you honestly provide all assurances that you would not be placed in any kind of ‘conflict of interest’ situation with regard to the above associations? Please comment.
In conclusion, there is much evidence to suggest that there was foul play in the case of the death of Dr David Kelly. He was an eminent weapons inspector at a critical time in world history. A catastrophic ‘miscarriage of justice’ has almost certainly taken place in returning a suicide verdict. This fact will not fade with time.
Mr Grieve, I was most heartened to see/hear your speech indicating your deep commitment to Human Rights.16 Please demonstrate this commitment via your wholehearted support for the re-opening of Dr Kelly’s inquest.

Yours sincerely,

Miriam Stevenson, CQSW, BA (Hons), MA (Dist) Socio-Legal Studies.


Addendum to letter dated 12th February 2011 from Miriam Stevenson
Date of addendum: 20th February 2011
To: Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Attorney General, UK
Dear Mr Grieve,
Since writing my letter to you (dated 12th February, 2011) I would like to highlight some views on how British Justice should proceed as expressed in the words of the Rt Hon Sir John Major, Former Prime Minister and current Chairman of the Ditchley Foundation.
I was impressed by a most eloquent article by Sir John Major in the Times, dated June 6th 2008.1 In discussing the advancing ‘war on terror’ and 42 day pre-charge detention for suspected terrorists proposed by New Labour, Sir John candidly challenged the government’s position:
...the case for war was embellished by linking the Iraqi regime to the 9/11 attacks on New York - for which there is not one shred of evidence. As we moved towards war, that misinformation was compounded by the implication that Saddam's Iraq was a clear and present danger to the United Kingdom, which plainly it was not (My emphasis)
Later he adds:
I don't believe that sacrifice of due process can be justified. If we are seen to defend our own values in a manner that does violence to them, then we run the risk of losing those values. Even worse, if our own standards fall, it will serve to recruit terrorists more effectively than their own propaganda could ever hope to. 2 (My emphasis)

I further applaud Sir John Major when he unequivocally called (in June 2009) for the Chilcot Inquiry to be held ‘predominantly in public’ with witnesses giving evidence ‘under oath’.3 He also expressed concerns regarding the considerable delay in setting up the Inquiry.4
Mr Grieve, I hope that you will remember Sir John Major’s above consistent and coherent arguments for the sharing of accurate, evidence based information, due process, transparency, timeliness and truth under oath. These are indeed hallmarks of a high quality justice system and are exactly what British Citizens need in response to ongoing unanswered questions about the death of Dr David Kelly.
Miriam Stevenson.


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

FOI Response about Hutton Inquiry Documents

This is the text of a Freedom of Information request I made about documents relating to the Hutton Inquiry together with the response to the matters raised:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request, which was received at The National Archives on 2 February and later clarified on 8 February 2011:

1. Please inform me of the reference numbers of the reports of Dr Hunt to the Hutton Inquiry (You have previously told me that the reports are dated 19 July 2003 and 25 July 2003 and informed me of the dates they were received or logged at the Inquiry - this has been very helpful.  Thank you).
2. Please inform me of the dates of any statements, reports or other documents by the forensic biologist Mr Green, or his assistant Dr Eileen Hickey, that were submitted to the Inquiry and when they were submitted.

3. As in question 1 above please inform me of the reference numbers assigned to any documents submitted by Mr Green or Dr Hickey 

Clarification of request received on 8 February 2011: 

I have looked at the list of evidence on the Hutton website and it appears that not all of the evidence submitted is listed thereon.  For instance when I made an earlier FOI Request for all the reports made by forensic pathologist Dr Hunt two were found although I can only find what appears to be one in the evidence list.  I must ask you again to check through the evidence records and fully reply to my FOI Request of the 2nd February.

Following clarification of your request, this was forwarded to the Freedom of Centre to answer.  

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 gives you two rights of access when you write to us asking for information.  You have the right to know whether we hold the information that you are looking for, and you have the right to have the information given to you.  These rights may only be overridden if the information you are looking for is covered by an exemption in the Act.  

1. Dr Hunt provided a draft report to the Inquiry while waiting for toxicology results. The reference that Dr Hunt used for this report was SC:39/2003/cb. This was later given another reference COR/1/0001 to COR/1/0014 that the Inquiry used for this report.

Dr Hunt after receiving the results provided a final report. The reference that Dr Hunt used was SC:39/2003/cb. This final report is already available  in the public domain and can be accessed on-line from the Ministry of Justice website:

When this final report was given to the Inquiry it was given a reference of COR/2/0240 to COR/2/0253. The Inquiry team also gave the same final report the reference TVP/1/0059 to TVP/1/0073. This reference number was published by MoJ 22 October 2010. 

It is not known why there is a change in the Inquiry reference number. Both final reports are the same except the change from COR to TVP.  It is possible that Dr. Hunt provided a copy of his final report both directly to the Inquiry and to Thames Valley Police who then also sent it to the Inquiry.

For the information already in the public domain, this is exempt information under Section 21 of the FoIA. The section 21 exemption, exempts information which is reasonable accessible by other means 

2 & 3. Following a search of the paper and electronic records transferred to The National Archives at the conclusion of Lord Hutton's Inquiry, I have established that the information you requested for this part of your request is not held by this Department.  

The transcript of Mr. Green's oral evidence to the Hutton Inquiry [] explains that Mr. Green provided a spreadsheet to Thames Valley Police showing "a snapshot of where we are today showing what items have been examined, what has been found on them, which items were profiled, the results of those profile tests."  It further stated that Mr. Green had not yet put his evidence down in statement form because he was "finishing off the testing of that material."  Assistant Chief Constable Page would then come back to tell the Inquiry the results.  It appears to be for this reason that the information you have requested is not on the Hutton Inquiry's website.

In light of the above, this part of your request would perhaps be more appropriately addressed to Thames Valley Police: 

Freedom of Information Officer
Thames Valley Police Headquarters
Oxford Road
Oxfordshire OX5 2NX.

Regarding my first question the background to it can be found in an earlier post I made:

In brief confirmation was given of two separate reports having been made by Dr Hunt, the second of these having been assigned a "Thames Valley Police" or "TVP" number.  From the information above it seems that they were given a COR reference, "COR" I'm guessing stands for correspondence.  I am unable to find any "COR" documents in the "Evidence" tab.

A couple of quick points relevant to my question 1: firstly Dr Hunt is using the same internal reference for each.  Although obviously dealing with the same body I would have thought he might have added a suffix ( /1 and /2 say) to distinguish between them.  Secondly the writer of the FOI response is suggesting that the 25 July report may have been lodged as two copies - one from Dr Hunt and one from the police, if so why no evidence of two copies when the archive was searched.  I don't believe that Dr Hunt sent his report in anyway, that was the job of the coroner after he had sorted out the (incomplete) death certificate.  In the earlier FOI in the link above the first report from Dr Hunt was submitted and the second logged - a subtle difference!   Incidentally if you go to the "Press Notices" tab on the Hutton site you will see that the website was launched on 30 July 2003.

Moving on to my questions 2 and 3 and it will be seen that reports from Mr Green and Dr Hickey don't appear on the Hutton site!!  The implication is that Lord Hutton wasn't presented with the results of the 50 or so laboratory tests that Mr Green was carrying out nor any results of testing carried out by Dr Hickey.  There are already enormous question marks about the failure to remark on the lack of fingerprints on objects found in the proximity of the body, now it seems that other tests haven't been worthy of Lord Hutton's attention. 

In his evidence ACC Page goes to some length to itemise the places where samples were taken.  This is ACC Page's first visit with Mr Dingemans doing the questioning:

Q. And what tests were taken at the scene? Any swabs taken?
A. Yes, there was a very thorough swabbing of the body at the scene. Samples of all blood splattering were taken.
Q. Right.
A. Samples of every pool of blood were taken. Samples of every stain of blood on Dr Kelly's clothing were taken.  The items that I have mentioned, the knife, the Evian bottle, the watch, the hat, were all swabbed. The Evian bottle, the mobile phone, the watch were swabbed to establish whether there was any DNA present other than Dr Kelly's.

This being Hutton then of course there is no follow up question 'And the results of these tests were ... ?'

The failure to consider the tests is yet further evidence of the total inadequacy of the inquiry process.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Friday morning - and Mrs Kelly talks of her husband's suicide

Dr David Kelly's dead body was "officially"  found just before 9.20 on the morning of Friday 18th July 2003.  During the course of that morning the police statements were to the effect that a body had been discovered at Harrowdown Hill, that it was believed to be that of the missing government scientist Dr Kelly and that they were treating the death as unexplained.  These public pronouncements seem reasonable enough in the light of what we now know.  How is it then that Mrs Kelly is telling relations on this same Friday morning that her husband has committed suicide?

First let's look at what Sarah Pape, Dr Kelly's half-sister is saying at the Inquiry:

Q. Then later on in the day you found out what had happened?
A. Yes. I did half wonder whether he might have, for some reason, set off to come and visit me. We had had this conversation, I had said: if it all gets too much you just come to me. But when I heard he did not have his car keys and his car was still there and did not seem to have taken any money, I thought it was less likely that would happen. Because I was on call and because we had been extraordinarily busy that week, I really felt I had to go to work although I did not want to go to work, I would rather have stayed at home by the phone in case there was any news. But there were patients that really I had to go and deal with so I went into work that morning.

Between operations I went back to my office and checked to see whether there were messages on my mobile phone and I picked up a message from Janice, my sister-in-law, shortly before 10 o'clock and the message that she left was to say that there was going to be a press release and that I might hear something about my brother having disappeared, but I knew that already so I was not too concerned.
I returned to my office between the next two operations, which would have been some time after 10 o'clock, and there was a message from my husband asking me to ring home. I initially thought he was just going to give me the same information, that the press would by now know. In fact when I rang him he told me that the police had found my brother's body and that it looked as though he had committed suicide.

Mrs Pape seems to me be a good witness to the extent that she has come out with a long and detailed response to the question from Mr Knox.  She appears to have come well prepared with some notes that she looks at at an earlier point.  From her response it looks as if she picked up the message left by her husband sometime between 10 o'clock and her lunch break.  Here suicide is mentioned not as a certainty but something not far off it.

Now we need to see what Mrs Kelly's brother, Derek Vawdrey, has to say to the Sunday Mirror of 20th July.  Here is an extract:

He told how his sister Janice Kelly rang him on Friday morning. "Her first words were 'Are you sitting down? She then just blurted it out. She could hardly speak for the shock of being told herself. She said he'd committed suicide." 

The whole article is here;col1 

Considering the official line taken by Thames Valley Police the statement made by Derek Vawdrey seems absolutely extraordinary.  Bear in mind that ACC Page says he didn't visit Harrowdown Hill, and that neither the appointed investigating officer DCI Young nor the forensic pathologist Dr Hunt get to see the body until after midday.

We know from the inquiry evidence that DS Webb was detailed to return to the Kelly home after news of the discovery of the body had come in and he states that he remained there until 15.20.  He also says that he was joined later that morning by WPC Karen Roberts who acted as a family liaison officer.

So who told Mrs Kelly on the morning of the18th that her husband had committed suicide?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Leigh Day make final submissions to the Attorney General

Leigh Day & Co represent the doctors who produced "The Memorial", their legal presentation to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve putting the case for an inquest into the death of Dr Kelly.  The Memorial can be viewed by going to an earlier post of mine here:  With further evidence coming to light Leigh Day have made a final submission to the AG by way, I believe, of an Addendum to the Memorial.  The firm have made a statement about this which can be read here:

Relating to this there is a story in the Daily Mail which is accessible here: