Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Mitchell hits out at 'Plebgate' Pc

Former chief whip Andrew Mitchell has insisted the police officer he confronted in Downing Street did not tell the truth about the plebgate row, despite prosecutors finding there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against the constable.

The politician held a press conference this afternoon after it was announced that the gate officer would not face prosecution, although one fellow constable has been charged and he and another four face gross misconduct proceedings over the row.

Mr Mitchell again denied having made any reference to "knowing your place", or using the word "plebs" during the confrontation in September last year.

He said: "Police Constable Toby Rowland who was responsible for writing these toxic phrases into his notebook was not telling the truth."

Mr Mitchell claimed that Scotland Yard's investigation into plebgate cast "grave doubt on the ability of the police to investigate wrongdoing in their own ranks".

He said that the inquiry had "meandered on for more than a year", and caused "huge and unnecessary" public expense.

The decision not to focus on Pc Rowland let investigators centre on less important issues, he claimed.

"This has allowed the inquiry to focus on the secondary issues rather than the incendiary fact that armed police officers...have stitched up one of those they are supposed to protect."

Mr Mitchell insisted that he had never changed his account of what had happened, after the CPS claimed that it had varied.

He said: " I have never changed my evidence. It's always been completely clear."

Close political ally David Davis claimed that Pc Rowland would have had to have said 40 words in five seconds if the officer's account was to be believed.

He told journalists: "According to Rowland, 40 words were spoken, excluding the last response from Mitchell, in that last five seconds. Most people speak at two to three words per second. No one speaks at eight words per second."

Stephen Parkinson, Mr Mitchell's lawyer, said that he believes Pc Rowland should have faced prosecution.

He said: "Early on the police decided that Pc Rowland was telling the truth. I have seen no evidence that they have tested this hypothesis at all. They delayed instructing an expert for a year and even now have not instructed an expert to establish whether the words spoken could have been heard from the street.

"They attached undue weight to the passing presence of the two women who witnessed nothing. They did not interview Pc Rowland under criminal caution.They spent an enormous amount of resources interviewing witnesses who can have had nothing to contribute.

"An opportunity to restore trust in the police has been missed."


From Belfast Telegraph