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Met lose PAT challenge over reinstatement of Supt Williams

Mrs Justice Heather Williams has today rejected two bids from the Met to overturn the PAT’s decisions.

Superintendent Novlett Robyn Williams had previously been sentenced to 200 hours of community service for possession of an indecent image in November 2019. 

She had received the image from her older sister via Whatsapp and did not report the clip. During her trial, the court accepted she had not viewed the video but the jury was not convinced by her argument that she was unaware of it being on her phone. 

She was initially dismissed from the Met when a disciplinary hearing in March 2020 found that her behaviour had amounted to gross misconduct. 

She then successfully appealed the decision and the Police Appeals Tribunal found she should not have been dismissed but received a final written warning. She was subsequently reinstated. 

Earlier this month the Met challenged the decision at the High Court, arguing that dismissal was the “only possible outcome”. 

Anne Studd QC, for the Met, previously argued that the PAT had put “far too much weight” on Williams’ mitigation and had not properly assessed the seriousness of the conviction.

“Because an officer can continue to serve does not mean that the public’s confidence is maintained by them doing so” she said. 

“It is the reputation of the whole profession that has to take precedence over the circumstances of the individual.”

Today, Mrs Justice Williams has rejected the bid to overturn the PAT’s decision. 

The judge said: “The PAT was entitled to regard this as an exceptional case in which dismissal for the officer’s gross misconduct was not a necessary and proportionate sanction.

“The PAT reached the conclusion that it did because of the unique circumstances of the conviction, the officer’s stellar career, the substantial impact she had had on enhancing the reputation of the MPS as a whole and its assessment that her dismissal would reduce confidence in the police in some of the communities in which the MPS had struggled to gain trust.

“This was a permissible conclusion for it to reach.”

Ms Williams has previously been commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2003. 

The Met’s challenge over the reinstatement of Detective Constable Asweina Gutty was also rejected today. She was originally dismissed following her conviction for assaulting her then-partner before being given a final written warning after an appeal to the PAT. 

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “We are aware of the outcome of judicial review proceedings brought by the Metropolitan Police Service in relation to two Police Appeal Tribunal cases.

“The PAT overturned decisions to dismiss officers from the Met which had been made in special case hearings following criminal convictions.

“The MPS instigated judicial review proceedings in relation to both cases. We will now take time to carefully consider the judgments and any next steps.”

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