Simon Harwood was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson (Reuters)
Simon Harwood was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson (Reuters) Reuters

A police officer cleared of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests in London has been found guilty of gross misconduct by a disciplinary hearing panel and sacked from the force.

PC Simon Harwood was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson. Harwood struck the 47-year-old with his baton and pushed him to the ground in the City of London protests in April 2009.

Harwood, 45, had admitted "gross misconduct" for discrediting the Metropolitan Police.

The disciplinary panel, chaired by Commander Julian Bennett, said it would not decide if Harwood's actions had caused or contributed to Tomlinson's death in 2009 -a decision condemned as a whitewash by Tomlinson's family.

An inquest in May had ruled that the newspaper vendor had been unlawfully killed.

Harwood "readily" admitted that his actions at the G20 protest amounted to gross misconduct but did not accept that those actions resulted in the father-of-nine's death.

The Met Police confirmed Harwood would keep his police pension because he has not been charged with any criminal act.

After striking Tomlinson and pushing him to the ground, Tomlinson struggled to his feet and walked a further 75 metres before collapsing and dying. Cause of death was internal bleeding as a result of being struck.

Patrick Gibbs QC, representing Harwood, told the hearing that the disgraced officer accepted that it was "impossible for him ever again to be employed as a police officer".

Gibbs told the panel Harwood had twice offered to resign from the force but was both times by Scotland Yard.

He said: "He thought that that was the right thing to do.

"He wanted to minimise further embarrassment to the Metropolitan Police Service."

In a statement, after the decision by the panel not to investigate if the officer had caused Tomlinson's death, the victim's stepson, Paul King, said: "We came here expecting a disciplinary hearing. There hasn't been a hearing.

"We expected the Met to rule on whether its officer killed Ian. The Met basically are going on a 'no comment'. It's a whitewash, it's like they've let him resign already.

"The conflicting evidence from the inquest and the criminal courts are still to be resolved," continued King. "We won't give up yet. We'll take this to a civil court where we will try to find final judgments on who killed Ian."

Deputy assistant commissioner Maxine de Brunner apologised after the hearing to the Tomlinson family but insisted that the maximum penalty possible had been delivered by the panel.

She said: "Today's hearing has resulted in the maximum penalty that was ever available to the panel - dismissal due to gross misconduct.

"This leaves no ambiguity as to how the Met views the actions of Simon Harwood. Simon Harwood does not reflect the professionalism of the majority of officers working in public order, often in the most difficult of circumstances.

"I hope that this one officer's actions in 2009 does not taint the public opinion of officers who have worked tirelessly this year supporting events such as the Jubilee and of course the Olympics."

Harwood accepted in court that it was "wrong" for him to push over Tomlinson, who was drunk at the time.