David Kelly Post Mortem to be Kept Secret for 70 Years as Doctors Accuse Lord Hutton of Concealing Vital Information

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Vital evidence
which could solve the mystery of the death of Government weapons
inspector Dr David Kelly will be kept under wraps for up to 70 years.

In a draconian
– and highly unusual – order, Lord Hutton, the peer who
chaired the controversial inquiry into the Dr Kelly scandal, has
secretly barred the release of all medical records, including the
results of the post mortem, and unpublished evidence.

The move, which
will stoke fresh speculation about the true circumstances of Dr
Kelly’s death, comes just days before Tony Blair appears before
the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.

It is also
bound to revive claims of an establishment cover-up and fresh questions
about the verdict that Dr Kelly killed himself.

Tonight, Dr
Michael Powers QC, a doctor campaigning to overturn the Hutton findings,
said: ‘What is it about David Kelly’s death which is so
secret as to justify these reports being kept out of the public
domain for 70 years?’

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has also questioned the verdict
that Dr Kelly committed suicide, said: ‘It is astonishing this
is the first we’ve known about this decision by Lord Hutton
and even more astonishing he should have seen fit to hide this material

The body of
former United Nations weapons inspector Dr Kelly was found in July
2003 in woods close to his Oxfordshire home, shortly after he was
exposed as the source of a BBC news report questioning the Government’s
claims that Saddam
Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which could
be deployed within 45 minutes.

Lord Hutton’s
2004 report, commissioned by Mr Blair, concluded that Dr Kelly killed
himself by cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.

It was dismissed
by many experts as a whitewash for clearing the Government of any
culpability, despite evidence that it had leaked Dr Kelly’s
name in an attempt to smear him.

Only now has
it emerged that a year after his inquiry was completed, Lord Hutton
took unprecedented action to ensure that the vital evidence remains
a state secret for so long.

A letter, leaked
to The Mail on Sunday, revealed that a 30-year ban was placed
on ‘records provided [which were] not produced in evidence’.
This is thought to refer to witness statements given to the inquiry
which were not disclosed at the time.

In addition,
it has now been established that Lord Hutton ordered all medical
reports – including the post-mortem findings by pathologist
Dr Nicholas Hunt and photographs of Dr Kelly’s body –
to remain classified information for 70 years.

The normal
rules on post-mortems allow close relatives and ‘properly interested
persons’ to apply to see a copy of the report and to ‘inspect’
other documents.

Lord Hutton’s
measure has overridden these rules, so the files will not be opened
until all such people are likely to be dead.

Last night,
the Ministry of Justice was unable to explain the legal basis for
Lord Hutton’s order.

The restrictions
came to light in a letter from the legal team of Oxfordshire County
Council to a group of doctors who are challenging the Hutton verdict.

Last year,
a group of doctors, including Dr Powers, compiled a medical dossier
as part of their legal challenge to the Hutton verdict.

They argue
that Hutton’s conclusion that Dr Kelly killed himself by severing
the ulnar artery in his left wrist after taking an overdose of prescription
painkillers is untenable because the artery is small and difficult
to access, and severing it could not have caused death.

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27, 2010

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