Lucy Letby: MS urges UK Government to establish statutory inquiry
A Member of the Senedd has called for a robust statutory inquiry following the sentencing of the killer nurse, Lucy Letby.
Alyn and Deeside MS, Jack Sargeant has issued a statement urging the UK Government to establish a statutory inquiry into the murders that took place at the Countess of Chester Hospital.
The current inquiry established by Rishi Sunak has come under fire from families and experts due to its non-statutory status, meaning no one is required to give evidence.
Statutory inquiries – like the Grenfell Inquiry or the Covid Inquiry – benefit from a strong set of legal powers that allow them to compel people to give witness statements, give evidence under oath and release documents and written evidence relevant to the inquiry.
Where people fail to comply, legal action can be taken against them.
Mr Sargeant said: “The Countess of Chester Hospital serves the community I represent. These are cross border services, and we need to speak with one voice.
“Families need to know that an inquiry has the power to compel witnesses to attend and answer questions. This requires a statutory inquiry to be established as quickly as possible. There should be a clear duty of candour in all such cases. I am calling on the UK Government to ensure this happens.”
The local MS has been a vocal campaigner for a Hillsborough Law to be established, creating a new legal duty of candour on public authorities and officials.
Such a law would also ensure victims of state-related deaths are entitled to parity of legal representation.
Mr Sargeant added: “It should be obvious to everyone that this inquiry should have the statutory power to compel people to attend and answer questions. Public bodies have access to significant legal resource, and this can sometimes give the impression that they hide behind this resource.
“The best way to avoid this is for a statutory inquiry with powers to compel attendance. I have previously said that I would like to see a law that requires a duty of candour. Placing a legal duty on public servants to answer all questions fully and accurately.”
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