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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Key points: Closing statements
Here are key points from the closing statements on day 23 of the Hutton Inquiry.

Lord Hutton

  • Lord Hutton thanked the inquiry team, and those involved in helping to arrange the computer systems. He also thanked the witnesses, government officials and the BBC who produced a large quantity of documents.

  • Lord Hutton said he will write and deliver his report as quickly as he can. He hoped to report back by the end of the year.

    James Dingemans QC

  • Mr Dingemans, Counsel for the inquiry, said he had no case to put and no client to represent. His only aim was to assist Lord Hutton in determining the truth relating to the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

    James Dingemans QC
    James Dingemans QC

  • The evidence pointed overwhelmingly to the fact that Dr Kelly had taken his own life and there was no involvement of third parties.

  • Mr Dingemans said some things were now clear about the government's September dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

  • He said intelligence on which the 45 minutes claim was based, came in late at the end of August.

  • Drafts of the dossier were revised and the evidence suggested that John Scarlett, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, approved all the changes made.

    The effect of all this media attention upon an extremely private and retiring man should not be underestimated
    Jeremy Gompertz QC
    Counsel for the Kelly family

  • Mr Scarlett's evidence was there was no case being made in the dossier.

  • Alastair Campbell, the outgoing government director of communications, had said the dossier made the case as to why the prime minister and the government were growing ever more concerned about the issue of Iraqi WMD.

  • Mr Dingemans said Dr Kelly was involved in the final stages of the dossier and it seemed plain there was unhappiness expressed with parts of the dossier within the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS).

  • The impression created was of a branch of experts who believed the intelligence had been over-egged, said Mr Dingemans.

  • Part of the problem about whether or not a case was being made in the dossier was "there was a fine line between showing the evidence and making a case", he said.

    The government had no obligation to keep Dr Kelly's name secret, and Dr Kelly had no right to expect them to do so
    Jonathan Sumption QC
    Counsel for the government

  • Mr Dingemans argued that a matter for Lord Hutton to consider was whether Mr Scarlett had heard only one side of the argument, from Downing Street.

  • There was no doubt that the word "Campbell" was raised in the meeting between Andrew Gilligan and Dr Kelly .

  • However the absence of Alastair Campbell's name in the first set of Andrew Gilligan's notes on his Sharp organiser suggested "it was more likely to be Mr Gilligan's question than Dr Kelly's answer", said Mr Dingemans.

  • It was plain that Dr Kelly did not say the government probably knew the 45 minute claim was false before it was put in the dossier.

  • The fact that the scientist did not support the more sensational aspects of Mr Gilligan's broadcast is partly supported by the proposed running order of the Today Programme, with the reporter's story second in line.

    They did not like Andrew Gilligan and set out to get him
    Heather Rogers
    Counsel for Andrew Gilligan

  • Mr Dingemans said Lord Hutton would have to consider whether or not making a very serious charge against the government "is a form of words".

  • Lord Hutton would have to consider Dr Kelly's comments to Newsnight reporter Susan Watts when he said: "I mean they wouldn't think it was me, I don't think" and whether that meant the scientist realised the meeting was unauthorised.

  • It was clear there was confusion about whether Mr Gilligan gave notice to the MoD about the content of the broadcast.

  • Mr Dingemans said "a supreme irony of all this is that one man, Dr Kelly, who was very skilled at finding of weapons of mass destruction is no longer able to assist".

  • It was clear that when Mr Campbell appeared on Channel 4 News, that "perspective had been lost".

  • It would be up to Lord Hutton to determine what, if anything, was said between Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and Mr Campbell to give rise to the words "plea bargain".

  • It was not clear whether Dr Kelly had been told the government's view that is was completely inevitable his name would come out sooner rather than later.

  • Mr Dingemans said the press statement which had been presented to Dr Kelly was extensively amended at Downing Street. The Q&A (question and answer) material had gone through a number of drafts moving from being not appropriate to name Dr Kelly on 4 July, to the final draft where his name would be confirmed if given.

  • There was no doubt that the call Richard Hatfield, the MoD's director of personnel, made to Dr Kelly on 8 July to clear the press statement "was not a particularly long conversation".

  • Lord Hutton might think it was a "critical difference" that more detail was given in the final press statement about Dr Kelly.

  • It was plain that Dr Kelly "was not aware of the media maelstrom which was about to descend on him" .

  • Lord Hutton would have to consider whether Dr Kelly was adequately warned of the media interest, or whether the scientist was in some respects "attempting to avoid the issue".

  • Mr Dingemans said "whatever the precise motivation of Downing Street and the MoD, Dr Kelly was not informed about the additional information which was contained in the Q&A material".

  • Mr Dingemans referred to an email from Mr Hoon's office to Kate Wilson, MoD chief press officer, on 9 July. He said one reading of it suggested it referred to naming Dr Kelly in the letter from Mr Hoon to BBC chairman Gavyn Davies. Another reading suggested it had discussed naming Dr Kelly, picking up on comments made in Alastair Campbell's diary which said "we wanted the source out".

  • Mr Dingemans said Jonathan Sumption QC, counsel for the government, said it had been entitled to name any civil servant to put the record straight. On the other hand, there was some support in law to say crown servants had proper legal protection equivalent to a contract of employment.

  • Lord Hutton might want to consider that it would have been perfectly possible for the MoD to ensure someone had been sitting beside Dr Kelly to deal with MoD matters at the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) hearing.

  • Mr Dingemans said suicide expert Professor Keith Hawton had made plain that Dr Kelly's actions were not foreseeable to any party: family, MoD, Number 10 or BBC.

  • Mr Dingemans said the material that had been presented inevitably raised issues beyond his terms of reference.

  • It is hoped Sir Kevin Tebbit, the MoD's permanent under secretary of state, will give evidence on Tuesday, 30 September, together with any short submissions that are to be made.


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