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Fresh legal bid over Kelly's death

A fresh legal bid to force an inquest into the death of Government scientist David Kelly is to be launched within the next few days, it has been disclosed.

Formal legal papers are expected to be submitted to Attorney General Dominic Grieve by the end of the coming week, requesting his authorisation for a group of doctors to go to the High Court to seek an inquest. If he refuses to grant the authorisation - known in legal language as a fiat - his decision could be subject to appeal at the High Court.

The five eminent doctors have conducted a long-running campaign to overturn the highly unusual decision not to hold an inquest into Dr Kelly's death in 2003, shortly after he was named as the source of reports challenging the Government's dossier of evidence on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death - which found that Dr Kelly committed suicide - would take the place of a standard coroner's inquest.

The new legal move was prompted by an interview given last month by pathologist Nicholas Hunt, who carried out an autopsy on Dr Kelly's body.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Dr Hunt stated that he found "big clots" of blood in the sleeve of Kelly's jacket and soaked into the ground and regarded the case as a "textbook" suicide - details which were not presented in evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Barrister Michael Powers QC, who is acting for the group of doctors, said that Dr Hunt's comments gave weight to their argument that Hutton's inquiry did not represent a sufficient examination of the cause of Dr Kelly's death.

Mr Powers said: "The media has now presented evidence which we have never had before. The fact that he felt it necessary to go to the press and say these things proves to us that the inquiry was insufficient."

The details which Dr Hunt mentioned must have come from the medical report into Dr Kelly's death, which Lord Hutton controversially ruled should remain secret for 70 years, said Mr Powers.

The group of doctors are awaiting a decision from Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke over whether this ruling should be overturned to allow them to see the report.

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