Bahai News -- Guardian - Blair and Hoon to give evidence next week Special report: Hutton inquiry


Blair and Hoon to give evidence next week

Witness schedule: week three until inquiry ends

Julia Day
Thursday August 21, 2003

Blair: appearance before Lord Hutton on Thursday likely to draw crowds

Tony Blair and Geoff Hoon will appear before the Hutton inquiry next week in what look set to be two keys days for the investigation into the death of David Kelly.

The spectacle of Mr Blair being quizzed about his knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the scientist's death will draw hundreds of journalists and members of the public to the high court.

The prime minister's evidence will come on a day when the inquiry will hear views from sides in the Iraq dossier affair - the government, the BBC and one of Mr Kelly's friends.

Mr Blair, who is scheduled to appear next Thursday, will be followed on to the witness stand by the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, and Tom Mangold, a former Panorama journalist close friend of Dr Kelly.

The defence secretary, Mr Hoon, whose actions in the run up to Dr Kelly's death have become a central issue at the inquiry, will give evidence the day before the prime minister, on Wednesday August 27.

Ann Taylor, the chair of the intelligence and security committee, which grilled Dr Kelly about his contacts with journalists two days before he died, will also appear before Lord Hutton on Wednesday.

Andrew Mackinlay, the MP who described Dr Kelly as "chaff" during the foreign affairs select committee hearing, will give evidence on Tuesday, the first day of next week's proceedings.

Sir John Scarlett, the man with overall responsibility for writing the dossier and chairman of the joint intelligence committee, and Sir David Omand, the chief intelligence co-ordinator, will also appear on the first day of the inquiry's third week.

Lord Hutton will hear from Dr Kelly's friends and family on Monday September 1, followed by police officers, a psychologist and a representative of Dr Kelly's Baha'i faith.

The end of that week will signal the completion of the first stage of the inquiry and Lord Hutton will adjourn the proceedings for week to consider which witnesses to recall and whether additional witnesses are needed.

The second stage will begin on September 15 and the inquiry will end on Thursday September 25, whereupon Lord Hutton will consider the evidence for "some time" before reaching his conclusions.

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©Copyright 2003, Guardian (UK)

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