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G20 riot cop sacked after being cleared in death of Ian Tomlinson

PC Simon Harwood, the police officer cleared of killing newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson during the G20 riots, has been sacked after being found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel.

The 45-year-old had admitted striking Mr Tomlinson with his baton and pushing him to the ground during the riots near the Royal Exchange Buildings in the City of London on April 1 2009.

But he denied that his actions contributed to Mr Tomlinson’s death and was cleared of manslaughter at a criminal trial in July.

Today a police panel found that he had breached professional standards through discreditable conduct and use of force, constituting gross misconduct.

He will now be sacked from the force and has accepted he will never be employed as a police officer again.

But Mr Tomlinson’s family stormed out of the hearing dismissing it as a “whitewash” after the panel said it did not need to consider whether PC Tomlinson’s actions had contributed to the newspaper vendor’s death.

Patrick Gibbs QC, representing PC Harwood told the hearing that it was unnecessary to put the allegations again as they had been dealt with at the trial.

He said it was an attempt to “manufacture a show trial” by rehearing the evidence already considered.

But speaking outside of the hearing, Mr Tomlinson’s step-son Paul King said: “I think it’s pointless, it hasn’t proved anything to us. We still haven’t got any answer from this. After three-and-a-half years, I think its diabolical. It’s like we’re back at day one. We will carry on, it isn’t going to be the last of it.”

He said there was “no justice” in the fact that Harwood now faces the sack.

The family are planning to take civil action over Mr Tomlinson’s death.

The hearing heard how PC Harwood has twice offered to resign following the incident, the first time after Mr Tomlinson’s inquest and the second time after he was cleared of manslaughter at the criminal trial. Both times his offers had been refused.

PC Harwood struck Mr Tomlinson as the newspaper vendor was making his way home from work.

The father of nine, who was an alcoholic and had slept rough for a number of years, managed to walk 75 yards before he collapsed and later died from internal bleeding.

Harwood, from Carshalton in Surrey, has already been acquitted of Mr Tomlinson’s manslaughter, although an inquest found the father-of-nine was unlawfully killed.

Addressing the disciplinary panel, Patrick Gibbs QC, for Harwood said: ‘’Pc Harwood does indeed accept that the discredit which his actions, and the way in which they have been reported, has brought upon the Metropolitan Police Service amounts to gross misconduct. He has twice offered his resignation to the Commissioner.’’

He said that, with the benefit of hindsight, Harwood would have used ‘’no force at all’’ if he had known about the state of Mr Tomlinson’s health.

Mr Gibbs said: ‘’If he had known then what he now knows about the circumstances, everybody’s movements and Mr Tomlinson’s health, he would have used no force, let alone the force that he did use.’’

Harwood has a controversial police disciplinary record, but this was not considered as part of the hearing because the accusations are more than two years old.

A number of allegations were made against Harwood over a 12-year period and he was allowed to retire from the Met on medical grounds in 2001 despite unresolved disciplinary proceedings.

He was accused of unlawful arrest, abuse of authority and discreditable conduct over an incident when he allegedly shouted at another driver and knocked him over his car door, before announcing that he was a police officer and arresting the motorist on a common assault charge.

But the proceedings were discontinued when he retired.

Later, Harwood rejoined the force as a civilian worker before becoming a police officer for Surrey.

He was then allowed to rejoin the Met in 2004 as part of its territorial support group (TSG), specialising in public order.

After he was acquitted of manslaughter, police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission said his case raised “grave concerns” about Met vetting procedures.

The force admitted that proper checks had not been made, but said processes had since changed.

By Martin Evans Telegraph.co.uk

Source: http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/g20-riot-cop-sacked-after-being-cleared-in-death-of-ian-tomlinson-3233002.html