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Streets Of London: Hutton Inquiry Update - Day 22

From The Streets Of London With William Moloney

The Hutton Inquiry Update - Day 22

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The Main Witnesses called today were Gavyn Davies - Chairman of the Board of Governors of the BBC, Nick Rufford - Sunday Times Reporter, Professor Keith Hawton - an expert in Suicides, and for the fourth time, MOD Personnel Director Richard Hatfield.

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Gavyn Davies- Chairman of the BBC Board of Governors

Mr. Davies stated that the Governors were the supreme authority at the BBC and they were acting in a supervisory role in the dossier affair.

Mr. Davies was questioned by the BBC’s own counsel, Andrew Caldecott QC, on the governors actions during the “war” with Alistair Campbell.

Mr. Davies, over a number of answers, outlined the actions taken by the Governors and the reasons for these actions.

Mr. Caldecott at one point asked whether the Governors were too ready to defend management at the BBC.

Mr. Davies replied that the governors were “highly experienced and independent minded people" who worked for the BBC for little monetary gain and thus had no risen to back management for the sake of it.

Jonathan Sumption QC, counsel for the Government, questioned Mr. Davies over the Governors knowledge about Dr. Kelly’s position at the MOD, in relation to the BBC’s claim the their source worked in the intelligence services.

Mr. Davies replied that the governors were not interested in the source's job, but wanted an absolute assurance the person was in a position to make the allegations, which Mr. Gilligan reported.

Mr. Davies continued "I have to tell you I am happy with the standing of the source now I know a great deal more about Dr Kelly".

Mr. Sumption questioned a statement Mr. Davies made, via email that read “"right or wrong on the 45 minutes, we must not buckle under govt. pressure".

Mr. Davies replied that the BBC was faced with an "intemperate attack on our impartiality and integrity"

Mr. Davies said he thought the public was looking to the governors to say to the government: "The BBC is not the state broadcaster."

Mr. Sumption then suggested that this was urging the Governors to continue to fight the govt., whatever the outcome of BBC internal enquires.

Mr. Davies replied, "I do not at any stage in my life ignore the facts." He was more concerned with the pressure from Alistair Campbell, which was intolerable.

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Nick Rufford- Sunday Times Reporter

Mr. Rufford said that when he arrived at Dr. Kelly’s house, he suspected he might be the person who had spoken to Andrew Gilligan but I didn't know that for sure...."

"His first words were that he had been contacted by the MOD and told he would be named in national newspapers the following day."

Dr. Kelly told Mr. Rufford "that he had been misrepresented in the way that the BBC had reported...". Mr. Rufford offered him the chance to write an article for The Sunday Times to put his side of the case.

"He said he would be happy to do it with the approval of the MOD press office," said Mr. Rufford.

Mr. Rufford checked with Pam Teare, who said that it would be unlikely to be allowed.

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Professor Keith Hawton – Suicide Expert.

Professor Hawton said that he was aware that Dr. Kelly had told his wife that he suspected his mother had taken her own life.

"I think the relevance of that fact was extremely uncertain and it would have been speculation to put it forward."

Prof Hawton said there was "no evidence" Dr Kelly "had significant mental illness", or "aggression or impulsiveness". "Absolutely not, indeed the reverse," he said.

Dr Kelly "had become increasingly withdrawn into himself during the period shortly before his death, which meant he became even less accessible, less able to discuss his problems with other people", said Prof Hawton.

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Richard Hatfield – MOD Personnel Director

Mr. Hatfield was making his fourth appearance before the inquiry.

He again went over the process surrounding the press release from the MOD on the 8th of July.

He reiterated that he had read the entire statement to Dr. Kelly and had got his consent on each part of the statement.

He confirmed that he had told Dr. Kelly that it would be in the public domain quickly and that once the statement had reached the public, he should contact the MOD press office to arrange for support.

*****ENDS*****

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