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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:23 GMT 07:23 UK
Hutton begins compiling report
Lord Hutton is beginning the process of pulling together evidence submitted to the inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly.

The six-week inquiry into the apparent suicide of the government scientist ended on Thursday, and Lord Hutton said he hoped to report in late November or December.

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith called on Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign, saying his position was untenable after revelations about the way his government treated Dr Kelly.

On the final day of the inquiry, Dr Kelly's family launched a blistering attack on the government, accusing it of "duplicity" and "systematic failures".

Their counsel Jeremy Gompertz QC had his some of his harshest words for Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, whom he accused of lying.

In particular, he said Mr Hoon had not told the truth when he denied involvement in a strategy to publicly name Dr Kelly in the row with the BBC.

The sense of a rapidly escalating crisis for both the government and the BBC was impossible to avoid
The BBC's Nick Assinder

"This was a cynical abuse of power which deserves the strongest possible condemnation," he said.

Dr Kelly had been used as a "pawn" in the government's political battle with the BBC, and cynically characterised to journalists as a "middle ranking official", he said.

"No wonder Dr Kelly felt betrayed after giving his life in service to the country... In his despair, he seems to have taken his own life."

The Ministry of Defence's top civil servant, Sir Kevin Tebbit, who has recently had an operation, is due to give the final piece of evidence when he is cross-examined on Tuesday.

Media criticised

The Kelly family also had hard words for the BBC, and the media in general.

Dr Kelly apparently killed himself after being named as the suspected source of a BBC report claiming the government "sexed up" a dossier on the threat from Iraq.

Mr Gompertz said the BBC story by journalist Andrew Gilligan was "unreliable".

Mr Gilligan's version of a meeting with Dr Kelly was incompatible with the evidence, he said, and inconsistent with his own reports.

The reporter had lost his own notes and made changes to accounts of when and where he had meetings with Dr Kelly.

Seldom has so much light been shed so swiftly and so ruthlessly on two major public bodies: the government and the BBC
The BBC's Andy Tighe

The media in general should "raise its game", he added, referring to the harassment suffered by Dr Kelly before his death, and by his family afterwards.

Barristers for the government, the BBC and Mr Gilligan also put their cases on the final day, with the inquiry's counsel effectively summing up all the evidence in his closing statement.

Government QC Jonathan Sumption said it was "completely unjustified" to criticise the government for making Dr Kelly's name public as the suspected source.

He also warned against "a hunt for other people to blame" for his death.

Mr Sumption said the government was entitled to defend itself against "scandalous" claims by publishing the truth.

Officials had tried to give advice and "outstanding" support after Dr Kelly was named in the press, he said.

Many of the papers have already decided the government and the BBC are to blame

Mr Sumption also underlined the "rigorous" way intelligence for last September's Iraq dossier was handled.

BBC counsel Andrew Caldecott QC said the BBC apologised for some mistakes, including slips by Mr Gilligan in live broadcasts, and a failure to ask Downing Street to respond before the report.

But the corporation still thought it was in the public interest to broadcast the concerns of Dr Kelly, he said.

Mr Gilligan's barrister, Heather Rogers, said government officials should not have acted like "playground bullies" trying to "get Gilligan", who had been doing his journalistic duty.

Dr Kelly had volunteered information to Mr Gilligan - and other journalists - "intending that it should be published", she said.

Mr Gilligan had tried to report Dr Kelly's views accurately but, in hindsight, acknowledged he had inadvertently made some mistakes.




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