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David Kelly

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs at what time and at what location on 14 August 2003 the resumed inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly took place. (126379)

I am informed by the Oxfordshire coroner that the resumed inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly took place at approximately 10 am in the Old Assize court at County Hall Oxford.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the resumed inquest on 14 August 2003 into the death of Dr. David Kelly was a public hearing; who was given prior notification of the intention to hold this hearing; and on what date that notification was given. (126380)

I am informed by the Oxfordshire coroner that the resumed inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly was held in public on 14 August 2003. Notification was given to the interested persons and the press by telephone shortly beforehand.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the statutory basis was on which the Lord Chancellor asked the Oxfordshire coroner, in a letter dated 12 August 2003, to (a) keep the proceedings relating to the inquest into the death of Dr. David Kelly as short as possible and (b) take the evidence in writing. (126381)

In his private secretary's letter of 12 August 2003 the Lord Chancellor required the Oxfordshire coroner to adjourn the Kelly inquest in accordance with section 17A of the Coroners Act 1988. He also requested that the coroner keep the proceedings as short as possible and, as far as the Coroners Rules allowed, to take the evidence in writing. There was no statutory basis for these requests.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the compliance by the Oxfordshire coroner, in his consideration of the death of Dr. David Kelly, with the requirements of Rule 37 of the Coroners’ Code, with particular reference to (a) the likelihood of documentary evidence being disputed and (b) the issuing of a public announcement relating to the admission of documentary evidence. (126382)

The coroner is an independent judicial officer. I do not comment on such decisions which are made in the coroner’s judicial capacity.