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Medical records concerning death of David Kelly to be released to Leigh Day and their medical clients

Lord Hutton relents on the 70 Year rule.

Dr David Kelly

28 January 2010

Last week a letter from the legal team acting for HM Coroner of Oxfordshire, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, disclosed to Frances Swaine, partner at Leigh Day & Co, that at the end of the Hutton Inquiry in 2003 Lord Hutton had made a request for the post mortem report and surrounding medical evidence relating to the death of Dr David Kelly, not be disclosed for 70 years – far longer than the usual 30 Year rule.

It was an unusual request because, as Chair of a Inquiry, Lord Hutton had supposedly already examined the contents of the post mortem and other medical evidence in public.

Frances is acting on behalf of a group of doctors who have written to Dr Nicholas Gardiner requesting disclosure of the medical material to assist them in making representations to the Attorney General to have an Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, as the Inquest which was opened by the Oxfordshire Coroner was never resumed following the Hutton Inquiry – which, of course, examined far wider issues than the death of Dr Kelly.  An inquest which would seek to establish how, when and where Dr Kelly died, was not replicated by the Hutton Inquiry and the doctors believe that the cause of Dr Kelly’s death is very much open to question.  Lord Hutton decided that Dr Kelly had committed suicide.

Once Leigh Day and their clients became aware that the medical reports had ostensibly been locked away for 70 years, we started attempts to discover how the decision was taken and who might have acceded to Lord Hutton’s request.

On 26th January Lord Hutton made a statement to the media saying that he has recommended to the Ministry of Justice that the medical reports be made available to Leigh Day and their medical clients for the purposes of the legal proceedings that are contemplated to request a new Inquest.

Frances has now written to Jack Straw at the Ministry of Justice requesting disclosure of the medical records relating to Dr Kelly's death.

She said:

” We were surprised last week to discover that Lord Hutton had made a recommendation that the medical paperwork concerning Dr Kelly’s death had been recommended to be held from the public domain for 70 years.  This is an unusually long period of time to recommend locking away any information from the public eye.  My medical clients are adamant that it was not possible for Dr Kelly to have committed suicide in the way that was proposed by the Hutton Inquiry, and we renew our request for a full and fearless Inquest into his death so that a worthy public servant does not unnecessarily go down in history as a suicide if suicide was not, in fact, his intention.”

For further information please contact Frances Swaine on 020 7650 1200.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.


Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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