Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Hutton and Dingemans visit Mrs Kelly

Lord Hutton and Mr Dingemans visited Mrs Kelly on the morning of Saturday 26 July 2003.  This was at the instigation of Hutton.  At the Inquiry Hutton didn't reveal what was said between them.  The failure to do this was a matter raised by "The Doctors" when they applied to the Attorney General asking him to go to the High Court with the object of an inquest being granted.  Their application was by way of a "Memorial" which can be read via this link:  It is paragraph 50 on page 22 which is particularly relevant to this discussion.

In a letter to the Attorney General dated 3 November 2010 Hutton replies to this criticism:

17.  Paragraph 50 claims that I committed an irregularity because "during his investigations, Lord Hutton visited Mrs Kelly at home".  Together with Mr James Dingemans QC I visited Mrs Kelly and her daughters at their home a few days after I was appointed to conduct the inquiry.  The sole purpose of my visit was to express my sympathy to her and her daughters and to assure them that I intended to investigate Dr Kelly's death fully and carefully.  I took no evidence from her.  The visit was well publicised and would have been well known to all the parties represented at my inquiry.  No objection was made, or could have been made, to the visit at the inquiry.  The only evidence which I took from Mrs Kelly was the evidence which I heard when she gave evidence over a radio link to my inquiry. 

In a press notice dated 28 July 2003 on the Hutton website the first paragraph says:

Lord Hutton had a meeting with Mrs Kelly, the widow of Dr David Kelly, in her home on Saturday morning, 26th July. The meeting took place at Lord Hutton's request. At the meeting he told Mrs Kelly that the Inquiry would meet any legal costs which she might incur in relation to it.

Number 37 in the schedule of responses to issues raised on the Attorney General's website is clearly a precis of the statement in Hutton's letter of 3 November above.

The retort by Hutton in his letter is at variance with what he himself told the Inquiry.  These are his own words in his opening statement on 1 August:

At my request I have been sent a considerable quantity of documents by the BBC, the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office and I have also been given information by
Dr Kelly's widow when I met her at her home on the morning of Saturday 26th July.
It is probable that more documents will be sent to me in the next few days. From the documents and the information given to me, the following outline of events can be seen and I now state
that outline in very general terms without, at this stage, attempting a comprehensive account or any degree of precision. Many of the matters have already been reported in the media.

I view Lord Hutton's statement in his letter as a piece of deliberate deception. I don't doubt that he expressed sympathy, he might well have assured her that he would investigate the death fully and carefully and, in the strictly legal sense of the term, he may not have taken "evidence" from Mrs Kelly.  However, by his own admission, she gave him information and goes on to say 'From the documents and information given to me ..'.  It is surely abundantly clear that his duty at the Inquiry was to state the information given to him by Mrs Kelly.


  1. A suspicious mind might think that the evidence "taken" (Why on earth take it in advance??? Ought not evidence to have been provided by police statements which were all available to the inquiry???) might have gone in the opposite direction. Is Hutton bypassing a police investigation?

    Hutton contradicts himself "I took no evidence from her...The only evidence which I took from Mrs Kelly was the evidence which I heard when she gave evidence..." (which actually was all the evidence we ever heard from her)

    Perhaps a police investigation bypass was the purpose of the meeting earlier between Hutton and Neyroud.

    Mrs Kelly made at least five statements to the Police, three undated, and two well after Hutton took "evidence" from her, August 8/9, including a 15-pager on the 8th.

  2. Perhaps Hutton could have tightened up his language but when he writes 'I took no evidence from her' I'm clear that that remark only applies to his visit on 26 July.

    My feeling is that there was a good deal of chaos at the Inquiry - they were perhaps overwhelmed with the mass of statements and emails coming in. It is a pity so much was undated, I suspect the clerical staff weren't working to the same standards, possibly confusion in instructions. I can't see any other reason for some statements to be listed with their dates, others not.

    Mrs Kelly may not have made so many statements if some were duplicated in the photocopying. In short I think we have to be cautious in interpreting the number of witness statements.

  3. Fair enough, Brian. So what about Dingemans,Senior Counsel to the Inquiry? Obviously he would need to take Mrs Kelly over the jumps before her appearance (in voice only) at the Hutton Inqury. Perhaps not this far ahead and in any case,why he would need Hutton there is mystifying. Yet, as you highlight, this meeting was at Hutton's request. Dingemans also went to the funeral on Aug 6. There was nothing remotely like real cross examination in this part of the Inquiry. These are very strange relationships.

  4. From the very moment that the Inquiry was set up on the 18th there was a seeming inevitability that the inquest and Mr Gardiner would be sidelined. However when the family were visited on the 26th the inquest, officially at least, was still up and running. Unlike an inquest Hutton's Inquiry had no power of subpoena so Mrs Kelly (and Rachel) would have to be asked to attend. Hutton also made it clear that the Inquiry would stump up any legal costs Mrs Kelly might incur.

    The crucial thing from my perspective though is the fact that Hutton stated that he had been given infomation by Mrs Kelly and that this information was never revealed in open court. Hutton's letter disgracefully tries to hide the fact that he had been given "information".

    Yes, the question has to be asked as to what on earth were Hutton and Dingemans doing attending the Funeral. A funeral is for family, friends, colleagues ... Hutton and Dingemans would have had no more justification than me or anybody else reading this blog. It displayed Hutton's total lack of judgement.