A highly decorated police officer convicted of possessing a child abuse video on her phone has won an appeal against her dismissal from the Metropolitan Police.
Superintendent Robyn Williams, 56, who was commended for her work after the Grenfell Tower disaster, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service for possession of an indecent image in November 2019.
She was dismissed from the force with immediate effect after a special disciplinary hearing in March 2020 found her conviction amounted to “gross misconduct”.
Ms Williams appealed the dismissal decision and it was upheld on Wednesday by a panel which determined that she should have been issued with a final written warning rather than being dismissed.
The Police Superintendents’ Association said the independent panel, consisting of a legally qualified chair, a lay person and a serving senior police officer, found her dismissal from the Met to be both “unfair” and “unreasonable” and therefore allowed her appeal against her dismissal.
The trial at the Old Bailey heard that Ms Williams received the video via WhatsApp from her older sister Jennifer Hodge, 57, who had originally been sent the clip by her long-term boyfriend, 63-year-old Dido Massivi.
The court accepted Ms Williams did not view the footage but the jury was not convinced she was unaware of it being on her phone.
Jurors heard that Ms Williams had an exemplary disciplinary record and was highly regarded for her work both in the aftermath of Grenfell and at successive Notting Hill Carnivals.
She was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service in 2003.
Ms Williams said: “I am extremely pleased with today’s outcome and would like to thank the members of the panel for their decision, Gerard Boyle QC for continually fighting my case, and for the countless people within policing and beyond, including representatives of the Police Superintendents’ Association, who have supported me throughout.
“For over a year, before and during the pandemic, I have continued to support local people by working within community initiatives.
“I am therefore delighted to be able to return to the work I love, serving our communities within London.”
Police Superintendents’ Association professional standards coordinator Victor Marshall said: “We have continued to support Robyn since the original allegations against her were made.
“We are pleased that today’s panel agreed that her dismissal was unreasonable in light of the complex circumstances surrounding her conviction and we are delighted she will be able to continue to serve the communities of London.”
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “We are aware of the outcome of today’s police appeals tribunal in which Novlett Robyn Williams appealed her dismissal without notice following her conviction for possessing an indecent image of a child.
“The tribunal determined Ms Williams’ dismissal should be replaced with a final written warning.
“We await the full judgment.
“Once received, we will then consider the ruling and engage with Ms Williams’ representatives accordingly.”
The full judgment is expected to be published in about a week’s time.
Ms Williams’ appeal against her conviction for having a child abuse video on her phone was refused by the Court of Appeal in February.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies