Warwickshire Officer Cleared Over Plebgate Row Meeting

3 February 2016, 17:16

Andrew Mitchell MP

A Warwickshire police officer's been cleared of misconduct after a meeting with the Sutton Coldfield MP over the plebgate scandal.

DS Stuart Hinton met with Andrew Mitchell in October 2012 to talk about the row over riding his bike out of Downing Street.

But he was accused of later lying about what was said in that meeting. He's now been cleared of that at a hearing this afternoon.

A misconduct panel convened at the force's former headquarters found his on-air comments did not amount to dishonesty, discreditable conduct or a breach of integrity.

Mr Hinton, described to the panel as a ``model detective'' and who was a local Federation branch secretary at the time, had always denied any wrong-doing.

In evidence, the officer of 23 years' service, said: "My intention was to give an accurate view of the meeting."

Giving the decision, tribunal chairman Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "The panel are of the view that this (Mr Mitchell's) was such a partial account of what was believed to have happened it wasn't misleading for Sgt Hinton to say 'he still won't say exactly what he did say' in his radio interview."

She added: "The panel therefore do not consider that the account Sgt Hinton gave was misleading or believe he was intending to mislead anyone or was careless as to whether he might have been."

A judge ruled in 2014 that the MP probably did call Met officer Pc Toby Rowland a "pleb'' after the politician was stopped from riding his bicycle through the vehicle gate on September 19, 2012.

But at the time of the meeting, on October 12, Mr Mitchell denied uttering the offending word.

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