28/07/2003

Hutton inquiry to go ahead on August 1

The inquiry into the death of MoD weapons expert Dr David Kelly is set to go ahead on August 1.

The man leading the inquiry, Lord Hutton, met with Dr Kelly's widow at her home on Saturday morning to agree the scheduling.

Lord Hutton said that he had originally intended not to begin proceedings until after Dr Kelly's funeral. However, as the funeral will not take place for some time, Mrs Kelly told Lord Hutton that she would have no objection to a preliminary sitting of the inquiry before the funeral.

Also at the meeting it was agreed that the inquiry would meet any legal costs which Mrs Kelly might incur.

At the August 1 sitting Lord Hutton will state how he intends to conduct the inquiry and the course which he intends to follow. He will also hear applications from interested parties to be represented by counsel or solicitors and any other applications which may be relevant at that stage. He will then adjourn the inquiry until after Dr Kelly's funeral.

Dr Kelly, who worked as a government advisor, felt the full glare of the media spotlight after the press picked him out as a possible source for the BBC story which claimed that the government had "sexed up" a dossier outlining grounds for going to war against Iraq.

However, Dr Kelly told a Commons foreign affairs select committee that he believed he could not have been the source for Mr GIlligan's original report.

Dr David Kelly (59) disappeared from his Faringdon home, Oxfordshire, on July 17 following a week of press attention. His body was found next morning in woodland five miles from his home.

The weapons' expert had died from bloodloss as the result of a knife wound to his wrist.

(GmcG)

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