On his "Chilcott's Cheating Us" blog Andrew Watt put up a fascinating post yesterday: http://chilcotscheatingus.blogspot.com/2011/08/death-of-david-kelly-lord-huttons.html
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 2004. For 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.