1. ITV Report

Mitchell brands 'plebgate' officer a liar as row grows

Andrew Mitchell furiously denies claims made by police, saying the officers are not telling the truth and that he has been "stitched-up". Photo: PA

Former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell today accused the police officer at the centre of the "plebgate" row that cost him his job of being a liar.

In a highly charged press conference in which he sought to demonstrate that he "never used those words", he described the devastating personal impact the scandal has had on him and his family, and vowed to "speak out" on behalf of all victims of police misconduct.

Today the CPS said there was insufficient evidence to charge the officer at the gates of Downing Street, but did charge another officer with misconduct in public office.

PC Keith Richards sent an email to his MP over the incident, but it is claimed he did not witness the exchange the CPS said. Political Editor Tom Bradby reports.

Along with his lawyers, Mr Mitchell presented a detailed case as to why the CPS should have brought charges against the officers at the gate, using CCTV footage and the conflicting records of the events as they were reported.

He said the footage showed there simply was not enough time for the account given by police to have taken place, as Political Editor Tom Bradby explains.

In the course of the press conference he went to condemn the police for their actions, and for their investigations, as well as that of the CPS.

He described how his reputation was destroyed, how he was driven with his family from his home, and said his 92-year-old mother-in-law was abused by the public in the course of the scandal.

I and my family were driven from our home, with as many as 20 journalists and photographers camped outside. My children were followed by the press, my 92-year-old mother-in-law was pursued in Swansea, I was spat at on the street.

What does all this say about our police and about basic fairness and decency in our society today?

However his impassioned plea was dismissed by the Downing Street officer he named in his press conference.

PC Toby Rowland has stood by his account. Credit: ITV News

PC Toby Rowland issued a statement through the Police Federation standing by his version of the encounter. He said:

This has now been thoroughly investigated and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has confirmed there is insufficient evidence to take any criminal proceedings against me.

In addition, neither am I subject to any disciplinary proceedings. I confirm that I am prepared to give evidence under oath if required.

The Sun newspaper, which is being sued by Mr Mitchell over its coverage of the row, said they be standing by their story, saying it "was true and published in the public interest."

The CPS said there was insufficient evidence to show Mr Mitchell was the victim of a "conspiracy of misinformation."

Deborah Glass from watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission agreed that the detail of the conversation could not be proved either way.

The officer concerned says he was not familiar with the word 'pleb' prior to the incident. His record of the words used was contemporaneous. Mr Mitchell has denied using that word. I do not think this can be proven one way or another.

However, four other colleagues will face gross misconduct proceedings over the row, meaning they could face the sack.

Mr Mitchell hit out at the long, costly investigation carried out by police, saying it "casts great down on the ability for police to investigate wrongdoing in their own ranks."

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