UK & World News

  • 6 February 2014, 22:39

Plebgate Police Officer Jailed For One Year

A police officer who admitted lying about witnessing the Plebgate row has been sentenced to 12 months in prison.

PC Keith Wallis admitted sending an email in which he claimed he saw an altercation between Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell and PC Toby Rowland at the gates of Downing Street in 2012.

Mr Mitchell was alleged to have called the officer a "****ing pleb" after they became embroiled in an argument when the officer refused to let him cycle through the main gates.

The Tory MP has always maintained he never used the word "pleb", although he admitted swearing during the altercation.

Passing sentence at the Old Bailey, judge Mr Justice Sweeney told Wallis an "immediate custodial sentence" was required.

"You have lost your good character and are bound to be dismissed from the police," he said.

"Police officers must be deterred from misconduct and the public must see they will be punished if they are not."

Wallis nodded to the judge but was otherwise impassive as the sentence was read out.

The 53-year-old was told he would have been jailed for 18 months had he not pleaded guilty.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said Wallis' actions had fallen "way below the standards that I, my fellow police officers and the public demand".

"I expect my officers to serve the public without fear or favour," he said.

"Where officers break the law, they must expect to be held to account and answer for what they have done.

"Yesterday, I apologised personally to Mr Mitchell that an MPS officer clearly lied about seeing him behaving in a certain manner. Today, I apologise to the public for PC Wallis' behaviour."

Deborah Glass, of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said the altercation "should have gone no further than the personal apology Mr Mitchell made to the gate officer for swearing".

"The patchwork of evidence from emails, text messages and telephone calls does not suggest an organised conspiracy to bring down a cabinet minister," she said.

"But there was clearly collusion between certain officers to, as they saw it, blow the whistle on bad behaviour toward one of their own, which ultimately had the same effect."

She added: "The actions of PC Wallis, and the other officers responsible for turning a largely inaudible altercation lasting less than a minute into a national scandal, have not only caused injustice to Mr Mitchell, they have brought shame upon the police service."

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