Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mr Grieve is asked to withdraw his dishonest decision

On Thursday 9th June the Attorney General lied to Parliament regarding the matter of the death of Dr David Kelly.  On the same day he wrote what I consider to be a dishonest statement on the same subject.  The verbal statement with questions and answers from MPs is on hansard here  To access Mr Grieve's written statement go here

Dr Andrew Watt has today written formally to Dominic Grieve asking him whether or not he will withdraw the decision he made on 9th June.  If Mr Grieve were to do so it would obviously save the time that would be spent by the High Court considering a Judicial Review.  Mr Grieve should also realise that the longer he persists with the ridiculous position he adopted on 9th June then the more that the status of his own position and, in the long term, the office of Attorney General is undermined.

Andrew's letter to Mr Grieve can be read on his blog

Working link to Hutton Inquiry website

I'm aware that there has been considerable concern (shared by me) about the non availability of the Hutton website when trying to access it in the normal way.  This has been a problem it would seem from very early last Thursday 25 August right up until the time of writing this post.

Fortunately I now know that there is an archived version at  I hope this helps anyone looking for the site. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Why didn't Mrs Kelly return on the 15th July?

There are many aspects of the testimony from Mrs Kelly on the 1st September 2003 which, at a minimum, strike me as very odd.  I am now going to describe one of these, an interesting point which so far as I am aware has never been raised before.  It must be emphasised that in my opinion "odd" doesn't necessarily equate with "sinister" although it might do.

The relevant part of the official narrative, in summary, goes like this:  Nick Rufford, a Sunday Times journalist, turns up at the gate to the Kelly home at about 7.30 pm on Wednesday 9th July.  He spoke to Dr Kelly and Mrs Kelly states that Mr Rufford tells him 'the press were on their way in droves'.  She knows of somewhere they can go to in Cornwall to escape the press; they quickly pack and head west staying at Weston-Super-Mare that night before continuing to their destination on the 10th.  Moving on to Friday 11th and it is agreed that Dr Kelly would appear before both the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and the televised Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FAC).

I am not absolutely certain about whether, when Dr Kelly on the 11th agreed to appear before both committees, it had been decided that they would both be on Tuesday 15th but certainly on Monday 14th it was clearly the intention that both committee meetings would be on that same day.

Going back to the preceding Sunday we gather that Dr Kelly left Cornwall alone to drive to Oxford to stay with his daughter Rachel.  He would use the train to go up to London for his appearance before the two committees.  During this time his wife Janice would stay down in Cornwall.

One argument is that it was surprising that Mrs Kelly stayed behind rather than accompanying him to give moral support.  Putting aside for a moment my belief that the marriage was in turmoil it might anyway be the case that if both Dr and Mrs Kelly were highly stressed with the thought of Dr Kelly appearing under the scrutiny of TV cameras it could be that the stress levels would be magnified if they were in close proximity to each other.  Thus I believe that the fact that Janice Kelly didn't go to Oxford with her husband that Sunday is not so inexplicable as might first appear.

Tuesday dawns and, so far as Mrs Kelly knows, her husband is attending both committees that day.  It is also by coincidence the Kelly's 36th wedding anniversary.  This is what Janice says about the 15th: 'This was our 36th wedding anniversary and I was constantly thinking of him all day'.  On the evening of the 14th Janice would have believed that within 24 hours both committees would be out of the way and some sort of normality could be resumed.  So on that basis why didn't she arrange to get the train to Oxford on the Tuesday, they could celebrate their anniversary with a meal at the home of their daughter and her fiancee, but no she stays on in Cornwall.

I have wondered for some time whether Janice Kelly was reading her testimony from a prepared script - one reason possibly to keep her out of view of reporters.  This extract of her evidence I found particularly fascinating:

Q. What were you doing on the Friday?
A.  On the Friday we decided to go to the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  It was only a short drive so we thought that would be apt after the long day or two before.
Q.  That is what, some gardens you can walk around?
A.  That is right, yes.
Q.  And did you have lunch there?
A.  I am not sure whether we did or not.  No, I think we went back home - we spent a long morning there during which he had taken a call from several people from MOD explaining about the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Tuesday and an Intelligence Committee the following Wednesday.
Q.  Do you know who the calls were from?
A.  Certainly one was from Bryan Wells.  I am not sure if it was Bryan who told him that the former Foreign Affairs Committee would be televised. 

Not a too reliable witness linking the Tuesday and Wednesday committee meetings to her evidence of the situation on Friday 11th July (assuming that on that day they had decided that the two meetings would both be on the same day).  If she was reading her evidence from a prepared script all I can say is that she didn't have a very good script writer. 


Waiting for the Chief Constable to respond

On 16 June I wrote to Thames Valley Police regarding the change in evidence of DC Coe regarding Dr Kelly's body position.  I have yet to receive a considered reply although they treated a question in my letter as an FOI request and responded to that in isolation.  Of course if I wanted to make an FOI request I would have done that using the recognised procedure and I do not consider the procedure used by TVP as acceptable.

I have today written to TVP again in order to try and elicit a proper reply.  The text of the email is as follows:

Appended below is the email sent to you on 16 June 2011.  This is now over two months ago and I have yet to receive a reply to this letter.  I am concerned about this very long delay and ask whether you are now in a position to respond.
Brian Spencer
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:10 PM
Subject: Dr Kelly's death - conflicting evidence from DC Coe as to body position

Chief Constable, DCC Habgood, ACC Ball
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve made a statement to the House of Commons on 9th June 2011 concerning the death of Dr David Kelly. 
Despite evidence to the contrary Mr Grieve asserted that the body hadn't been moved. 
This communication looks at the evidence given by DC Coe, the first police officer to see the body, as to his description of the body position and that seemingly subsequent to his police witness statement he depicts it as being seen in a different position.
In Annex TVP1  submitted to the Attorney General's Office we have sight of DC Coe's police statement.  In it he says 'I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back'
At the Hutton Inquiry this is the question and answer in DC Coe's testimony that deals with the body position: 
8 Q. And how was the body positioned?
9 A. It was laying on its back -- the body was laying on its
10 back by a large tree, the head towards the trunk of the
11 tree.
On 8 August 2010 an interview of DC Coe (retired) appeared in The Mail on Sunday.  In annex TVP1 you focus on "The Third Man" who was with DC Coe, the admitted evidence of a third man having come into the public domain via this article.  Annex TVP1 states that 'DC Coe was interviewed on the 25th August 2010 in response to the Mail story'
Assuming a reasonable level of competence on the part of the interviewing officer(s) then they would have read the article in its entirety and discussed any aspects of the piece in the Mail on Sunday with DC Coe that were in conflict with his police evidence statement or other known evidence not just the matter of "The Third Man".  In the article these are the quoted words by DC Coe relating to the body position:
'As I got closer, I could see Dr Kelly's body sideways on, with his head and shoulders against a large tree.  He wasn't dead flat along the ground.  If you wanted to die, you'd never lie flat out.  But neither was he sat upright'
This description exactly matches that given by Louise Holmes, the first person to see the body.  Ms Holmes gets to within four feet of the body and is consistent in her police statement evidence and her testimony at the Hutton Inquiry.  Nevertheless in Annex TVP3 you are implying it seems to me that her evidence regarding the body position can't be right and should be disregarded.  About 45 minutes after the body discovery ambulance technician Dave Bartlett is able to stand and work in the space between Dr Kelly's head and the tree. 
I do not believe that at a distance of four feet from the body Ms Holmes would think the head and shoulders were slumped against the tree if the body was a significant distance from the tree.
I should like to be informed as to whether the interviewing officer(s) did discuss the body position with DC Coe in the light of his quoted remarks in The Mail on Sunday.  It would be a matter of great concern surely if the matter wasn't discussed.  There is no suggestion in your submissions to the Attorney General that the point was put to DC Coe.  I have therefore to pose the question as to whether Thames Valley Police misled the Attorney General regarding the vital question as to whether the body was moved.
I am copying this email to the Attorney General's office.  It will also appear on my blog  Blind copies are being sent to others who I feel might have a particular interest in the content. 
Brian Spencer

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dominic Grieve and Paragraph 151 of the Hutton Report

On his "Chilcott's Cheating Us" blog Andrew Watt put up a fascinating post yesterday: 
Andrew had seen his MP following the statement of the Attorney General Dominic Grieve on the 9th June 2011 to express his concerns about what Grieve had said.  The MP wrote to the Prime Minister who evidently passed the letter on to the Attorney General, now Andrew has heard back from his MP with Mr Grieve's reply.

Part of Grieve's letter referred to paragraph 151 in Chapter 5 of Lord Hutton's Report of 28 January 2004For ease of reference this is the whole of 151:

  151.  Those who try cases relating to a death or injury (whether caused by crime or accident) know that entirely honest witnesses often give evidence as to what they saw at the scene which differs as to details. In the evidence which I heard from those who saw Dr Kelly's body in the wood there were differences as to points of detail, such as the number of police officers at the scene and whether they were all in uniform, the amount of blood at the scene, and whether the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly's body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree - therefore a witness could say either that the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. These differences do not cause me to doubt that no third party was involved in Dr Kelly's death.

Andrew quotes from Grieve's letter as follows:

As I made clear in my statement to the House, the evidence supported the fact that Dr. Kelly took his own life is overwhelming. In particular, the forensic evidence supports the conclusion that Dr. Kelly died in the position in which his body was found. It is not for me to explain what Lord Hutton intended in making the comment he did in paragraph 151 of his report but I have seen the photographs that were before Lord Hutton and I believe what he meant was that when seen from different angles, the body might have appeared to be slumped against a tree. Reading paragraph 151 in its entirety does not suggest that Lord Hutton believed the body had been moved."

This is the first time I have seen reference to paragraph 151 by Grieve although I never doubted that he was familiar with it.  In my opinion the paragraph is one of the most important in the whole Report - Hutton realises that there were many conflicts in the evidence which he made no effort to resolve and so he felt obliged I think to make a comment to, apart from anything else, get himself off the hook.

In view of the importance of the content of the paragraph Hutton, I'm sure, would have weighed his words carefully.  Taking his comment about the photograph of the body position at face value leads me to say that there is no ambiguity about what Hutton says he saw.  That Hutton blatantly lied I have no doubt, I don't believe he did see a photograph as described.

If it wasn't for the seriousness of the matter Grieve's interpretations could be seen as highly comical.  Let's say that Grieve is right about what Hutton meant: why wouldn't have Hutton used a form of words to reflect that meaning?  Grieve says 'I believe what he meant ...'  So how can Grieve say with conviction that the body hadn't been moved when he himself indicates uncertainty about the meaning of Hutton's words?

Hutton himself is now in a very serious predicament.  He has either premeditately lied about the photo or, supposing such a photo does exist, then he must surely have looked at the other photos as seen by Dr Shepherd showing the head a significant distance from the tree.  Whichever alternative is the case he has totally misled the public in my opinion.