Search

Litvinenko inquest: Files to be examined in private

12:31 27 February 2013

Poisoned former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in hospital before his death in 2006

Poisoned former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in hospital before his death in 2006

Archant

Sensitive evidence alleged to expose poisoned Muswell Hill spy Alexander Litvinenko’s ties to MI6 will be examined in secret, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.

His widow Marina has spoken of her disappointment the files - which lawyers believe may contain the key to Mr Litvinkenko’s assassination in London in November 2006 - was still being shrouded in secrecy amid claims the government planned to “suppress” evidence to protect relations with Russia.

But Foreign Secretary William Hague argued the disclosure of certain files relating to the case could pose a risk to national security.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen today told a pre-inquest review, at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, he would consider a selection of that evidence in private, giving Mr Hague’s application the “most stringent and critical examination”.

He assured interested parties he would carry out a “full, fearless and open investigation into the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death”.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square. His family believes he was working for MI6 at the time and was killed on the orders of the Kremlin.

Speaking after his ruling, Mrs Litvinenko said: “It isn’t an ideal decision for us but it could have been worse.”

She added: “I have to trust the coroner, I must trust him, I have no option. I believe he will do exactly what he says.”

The inquest was due to formally open on May 1, with former KGB agents Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun have been accused of his murder.

Prosecutors named Lugovoy as the main suspect in the case but Russia has refused to extradite him to the UK for questioning. Both men deny involvement.

The hearing was adjourned today ahead of a directions hearing on March 14.

The coroner gave no indication on when he would conduct the private hearing but told the pre-inquest review that he could reconvene proceedings relating to the files in public if he deemed it possible to do so.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:09

The solicitor, who features in the film Denial, says there is “reams and reams” of far-right material online, and search engines should take a stand

Yesterday, 15:19

Former children’s laureate and author Michael Rosen has condemned Haringey Council’s plans to move thousands of council houses into a private company as “social and ethnic cleansing”.

Yesterday, 15:04

Campaigners against funding cuts to schools in Haringey have called on parents to turn the tide.

Yesterday, 13:07

A Camden School for Girls student has seen her rejection letter from Oxford University go viral after transforming into a work of art.

Tue, 13:55

A car wash owner has been jailed after an employee was electrocuted while showering in squalid rat-infested housing he provided for workers.

Tue, 13:07

Criminal gangs working across Hampstead are ordering spare keys online using numbers etched onto the access locks.

Tue, 11:50

Testing along West End Lane showed many residents were being exposed to nitrogen dioxide levels more than 50 per cent above permitted levels.

Tue, 11:02

The charity gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy as husband Richard delivered a letter calling for justice and a better future for his child

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now