Letter from Dr Michael Powers QC Letters to the Editor
March 12, 2004
Cause of death of Dr David KellyFrom Dr Michael J. Powers, QC
The Coroner for Oxfordshire is to hear representations from interested parties on March 16 as to whether or not there is an “exceptional reason” for resuming the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.
The evidence called before Lord Hutton’s inquiry focused only to a minor extent on the medical cause of Dr Kelly’s death. That evidence was neither given on oath nor challenged in cross-examination. No expert evidence of any opposing view was called or presented.
Since the transcripts of the inquiry have been in the public domain, concern has been expressed by a significant number of medical experts that it is unlikely that Dr Kelly died either of haemorrhage or a Coproxamol overdose, as the Hutton report concluded.
Suicide cannot be presumed. Even evidence pointing to the likelihood that Dr Kelly took his own life is not sufficient. Suicide has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Whilst conspiracy theorists may believe otherwise, a failure to prove suicide does not mean that Dr Kelly was murdered.
The coroner should resume the inquest to hear the divergent expert evidence which has come to light. If, in consequence, suicide cannot be strictly proved, there should be no reluctance to enter an open verdict.
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