11/08/2004

Probe fails to find source behind Hutton leak

An inquiry into who leaked Lord Hutton's report to The Sun newspaper has failed to unearth the rogue source.

Lord Hutton set up an "urgent investigation" in January after The Sun pre-empted his report's publication by splashing the inquiry's main conclusions across its front page.

Lord Hutton was aware of the political ramifications to his findings and had taken extensive precautions to prevent any leaks. However, that did not prevent The Sun's political editor Trevor Kavanagh from getting his exclusive.

On the morning of January 28, Lord Hutton said he "deplored" the reporting of some of the conclusions of his report.

Following the disclosure, Lord Hutton instigated a audit, led by the Solicitor to the Inquiry, Martin Smith, into the handling of draft copies by the printers and copies released to the parties involved – including the BBC; Dr Kelly's family; Parliament; Andrew Gilligan; and Susan Watts. However, that probe has closed without finding the source.

Mr Kavanagh told Radio 4 in January that, while he would never reveal the identity of his source, the leak emanated from one who "had nothing to gain financially or politically, no axe to grind, no vested interest".

The Hutton inquiry was set up in June last year to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly. The body of the MoD and UN weapons inspector was found in a wood close to his Oxfordshire home on the morning of July 18. He had committed suicide.

(gmcg)

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