'Plebgate' row detective to face disciplinary panel


A detective accused of giving a misleading version of events in connection with the "Plebgate" row is set to face a police disciplinary panel.

The serving Warwickshire Police officer is alleged to have breached the force's professional standards after attending a meeting with Tory MP Andrew Mitchell at the politician's offices in October 2012.

Detective Sergeant Stuart Hinton went along to the meeting with other Police Federation colleagues from the West Midlands and West Mercia police forces to speak to Mr Mitchell about the "Plebgate" incident at the gates of Downing Street the month before, and raise separate concerns over planned policing budget cuts.

Mr Hinton is then alleged to have given a misleading account of that meeting in an interview to BBC Radio Five Live on October 13, by suggesting Mr Mitchell had not provided an explanation of what he said to Metropolitan Police officers.

The meeting took place alongside Mr Hinton's colleagues Inspector Ken Mackaill, of West Mercia, and Sgt Chris Jones, of West Midlands Police but was - unknown to them - recorded by the MP's aide.

That recording proved the Sutton Coldfield MP had in fact given an explanation of what happened at the Downing Street gates on September 19.

Mr Hinton will answer allegations he breached the force's standards, amounting to gross misconduct, and could be sacked if the case against him is found proven by the three-member panel.

The hearing, which is being held at the force's headquarters in Leek Wootton near Warwick, is scheduled to take four days.

In December last year, a West Mercia Police disciplinary panel found Mr Mackaill's actions following the meeting with the MP had amounted to misconduct, but it was decided he should face no penalty.

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 in Downing Street.

Mr Mitchell, a cabinet minister at the time of the row, had accepted swearing but denied using that expression.

Last year, Pc Rowland accepted £80,000 in damages from the MP.