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Lucy Letby: Inquiry given powers to compel witnesses to give evidence

The inquiry into how nurse Lucy Letby was able to murder seven babies will now have greater powers to compel witnesses to give evidence.

In a significant move, ministers upgraded the independent inquiry after criticism from families of the victims that it did not go far enough.

The inquiry, ordered after Letby was found guilty this month, was not initially given full statutory powers.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he had listened to the families.

He said he had decided a statutory inquiry led by a judge was the best way forward and "respects the wishes" of the families.

Mr Barclay said the key advantage was the power of compulsion.

"My priority is to ensure the families get the answers they deserve and people are held to account where they need to be," he added.

He said an announcement about who would chair the inquiry would be made in the coming days - ministers have already said it will be a judge.

Richard Scorer, a lawyer who is representing two of the families, welcomed the government's announcement.

"It is essential that the chair has the powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath, and to force disclosure of documents. Without these powers, the inquiry would have been ineffectual and our clients would have been deprived of the answers they need and deserve," he said.

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Source: BBC News, 30 August 2023


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