Emphasis in red are mine.
Judge says no to inquest on weapons inspector Dr Kelly
A retired surgeon lost a major court battle yesterday in his campaign to secure a proper coroner’s inquest into the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.
Dr David Halpin was refused permission to challenge Attorney-General Dominic Grieve’s refusal to hold an inquest into the Government scientist’s mysterious death.
As the decision was announced at the High Court in London yesterday, there were cries from the public gallery of ‘Shame’ and ‘This is not justice’.
One woman shouted at the judge, Mr Justice Nicol, ‘What about the fingerprint evidence?’, a reference to the fact that no fingerprints were found on the knife Dr Kelly allegedly used to kill himself.
Dr Kelly was found dead in an Oxfordshire wood in July 2003 after being named as the source of a BBC report accusing Tony Blair’s government of lying to take Britain into the Iraq war.
His death was the subject of a public inquiry in 2003 chaired by Lord Hutton which found he committed suicide by slashing his wrist and swallowing painkillers.
He is believed to be the only person in modern times to have died in suspicious circumstances in this country whose final hours have never been fully examined by a coroner.
Reviewing the controversial case in June this year Attorney General Dominic Grieve said the evidence of suicide was ‘overwhelming’.
But yesterday Dr Halpin, 71, a retired trauma surgeon, claimed Mr Grieve had acted ‘unlawfully’ and ‘irrationally’.
Hundreds of Daily Mail readers were among 830 members of the public who contributed around £40,000 to cover Mr Halpin’s legal fees.
Rejecting Mr Halpin’s application to seek judicial review, the judge told a packed courtroom yesterday it was the Attorney General’s role to act as a ‘filter’ before matters got to court.
Mr Justice Nicol said: ‘Parliament considered it necessary for such a filter. In my judgment he [the attorney general] has exercised that discretion and power lawfully.’
After the hearing Mr Halpin, from Newton Abbot, Devon, said: ‘Nothing has changed as a result of today’s decision.
‘Dr Kelly has still not had an inquest, which makes him unique. I still think it is impossible to bleed to death by cutting an ulnar artery. I still don’t understand why there must be so much secrecy around this case.
‘This case was shackled by the law and the facts were obscured by that. The Hutton Inquiry had more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.’
Mr Justice Nicol ordered Mr Halpin to pay £5,568 towards the Attorney General’s legal costs.
Dr Halpin said he was going to ‘take stock and reflect on what to do next’ as a result of the decision.