Lawyers representing families of some of the babies attacked by serial killer Lucy Letby have said that a non-statutory public inquiry into her killing spree is “inadequate”.
Ministers ordered an independent inquiry after Letby, 33, was convicted of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six more during her shifts on the neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2015 and 2016.
But Slater and Gordon, which is representing two of the families involved, said that a non-statutory inquiry “is not good enough” and needs to have a “statutory basis to have real teeth”.
“The inquiry announced by the Department of Health is inadequate,” said Richard Scorer, head of abuse law and public inquiries, and Yvonne Agnew, head of the firm’s Cardiff clinical negligence department, in a joint statement.
“As a non-statutory inquiry, it does not have the power to compel witnesses to provide evidence or production of documents and must rely on the goodwill of those involved to share their testimony.
“This is not good enough.
“The failings here are very serious and an inquiry needs to have a statutory basis to have real teeth.”
It comes after Samantha Dixon, Labour MP for Chester, also raised concerns about a non-statutory inquiry.
“I do have some concerns about the risks around a non-statutory inquiry in that people are not obliged to attend and to give evidence,” she told BBC Breakfast.
“So I have replied to him and asked him why he has come to that decision, given that there are these risks and that we need full answers.”
She added: “A non-statutory inquiry almost relies on the goodwill of witnesses to attend. They are not obliged to attend, they’re not compelled to attend.”