No inquest into death of British Iraq weapons inspector

9th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain will not hold an inquest into the death of weapons inspector David Kelly, one of the key incidents surrounding London's part in the invasion of Iraq, the attorney general ruled Thursday.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve, the government's chief legal adviser, ruled out asking the High Court to order an inquest into the scientist's death.

Kelly's death in July 2003 plunged then-prime minister Tony Blair into crisis.

Kelly was found dead in woods near his home in Oxfordshire, southern England, after he was exposed as the source for a BBC story that alleged Blair's government had "sexed up" intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction before the invasion.

Kelly was the most experienced British expert involved in United Nations inspections in Iraq intended to prevent dictator Saddam Hussein from acquiring WMD.

An inquest was initially opened into Kelly's death, but it was suspended before the start of an inquiry.

The 2004 probe, carried out by Brian Hutton, a former head of the Northern Irish judiciary, concluded that Kelly had committed suicide.

The then lord chancellor Charles Falconer, head of the English judiciary, declared himself satisfied with the inquiry and the inquest was never completed.

In England, inquests are held to examine sudden or unexplained deaths. They set out to determine the place and time of death as well as how the deceased came by their death. They do not apportion blame.

Prime Minister David Cameron suggested last month that a full inquest was unnecessary given the Hutton report.

Blair told BBC television on Thursday that as far as he knew the questions surrounding Kelly's death had been answered by the Hutton report and that he "frankly" doubted that Grieve had different information.

© 2011 AFP

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