The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has today given consent for the family of Private Geoff Gray – who died at Deepcut barracks in 2001 – to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Private Gray, 17, was found dead from two bullet wounds to the head at the base in Surrey, on 17 September 2001. The original inquest took place on 19 March 2002, and the Coroner recorded an open verdict which did not include a narrative conclusion.
The Attorney General said:
Having considered the application, I have given consent to the family of Private Geoff Gray to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into his death.
I am satisfied that there is new material evidence available that was not put before the inquest in 2001, and I believe that it is in the interests of justice for the application for a new inquest to be heard by the High Court.
The Attorney General has the authority to decide whether an application can be made to the High Court for a new inquest to be opened. He has no power to order a new coronial inquest himself. A new inquest can only be ordered by the High Court on an application made either by the Attorney or by a third party with the consent of the Attorney.
Before an application can be made, the Attorney has to be satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect that the Court would be persuaded to open a new inquest. These decisions are made as part of his public interest function, independently of Government and strictly on the basis of the evidence. The Attorney concluded, in this case, that there was sufficient grounds of challenge set out in the applications to have a reasonable prospect of success.