Victim of press vilification and an NHS campaigner to tell Lords if public inquiries do any good

18 October 2013

Two witnesses who were involved in high-profile public inquiries will give evidence next Wednesday 23 October to the House of Lords Committee on the Inquiries Act 2005

The Committee is investigating how well the Act ensures that public inquiries are carried out as effectively and thoroughly as possible.

Christopher Jefferies took part in the Leveson Inquiry in 2012, giving evidence about his treatment by the tabloid press following the murder of his tenant, Bristol landscape architect Joanna Yeates. He subsequently won libel damages and has since become an advocate for press reform in the campaign group Hacked Off.

Julie Bailey formed the campaign group Cure the NHS, following the death of her mother at Stafford Hospital, and fought to establish a full public inquiry into the failings and high death rates at the hospital and the responsibility of the NHS Trust.

Mr Jefferies and Miss Bailey will be asked by the Lords committee if they feel that their respective public inquiries got to the truth of what happened and achieved what they wanted.

Other questions the witnesses will be asked include:

  • How powerless would you feel if the Government decides not to hold a public inquiry?
  • Did you feel you had the opportunity to say everything you wanted to say during the inquiry?
  • Do you think people are sometimes frightened to come forward to give evidence?
  • Do you think the procedure for implementing the recommendations in a report is adequate?
  • Has the Act succeeded in securing confidence in inquiries from those closely involved?

The evidence sessions will start at 10.40 am on Wednesday 23 October in Committee Room 4a of the House of Lords.

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