In Brief

Plebgate: Met PC pleads guilty over false witness account

PC Keith Wallis admits misconduct in public office after lying to local MP about Andrew Mitchell row

THE only police officer to be charged over the "plebgate" affair admitted misconduct in public office at the Old Bailey today.

Metropolitan PC Keith Wallis, 53, pleaded guilty for falsely claiming to have witnessed a row between then-cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell and police in Downing Street in September 2012.

The "plebgate" affair sparked a huge row between Scotland Yard and Downing Street and resulted in Mitchell losing his role in the cabinet, reports The Guardian.

Mitchell was accused of swearing at police officers and using the word "pleb" when he was stopped from cycling through Downing Street's main gates by another officer, PC Toby Rowland.

The former chief whip vehemently denies that he swore directly at police or used the word "pleb". Mitchell is being sued for libel by Rowland over comments he made following the incident.

In the following days Wallis sent an email to his local MP John Randall, then-Conservative deputy chief whip, falsely stating he had witnessed the row.

Today the court was told the diplomatic protection group officer had admitted his guilt in a police interview before pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Wallis has been bailed for sentencing on 6 February, pending psychiatric reports, and will reportedly offer to resign.

Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe apologised to Mitchell, who said he was pleased "justice had been done" but that unanswered questions remained.

In a statement, Hogan-Howe said Wallis's actions had damaged public trust and confidence in the police and in the integrity of his officers.

"I expect my officers to serve the public without fear or favour, where officers break the law they must expect to be held to account and answer for what they have done," he said.

Four other officers are facing gross misconduct hearings later this year relating to the "improper disclosure of information".

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