As Harwood’s trial is now over, newspapers are free to report on pre-inquest and pre-trial hearings that disclosed allegations he had punched, throttled, threatened and unlawfully arrested people.

The 45-year-old officer shoved 47-year-old Tomlinson, a father of nine, from behind and hit him with his baton during G20 demonstrations in London.

Tomlinson collapsed and died in the street mere minutes later.

The prosecution described Harwood’s behaviour as a “gratuitous act of violence by an officer whose blood was up”. But the jury returned a not-guilty verdict after almost 19 hours of deliberation.

Harwood admitted in court that he had been wrong to hit Tomlinson, but said: “At the time I believed he was obstructing the police line and needed to be encouraged to move away.

“We don’t get time to sometimes think of your options because it is an instant reaction.”  

Jurors did not hear of past accusations against Harwood for ‘heavy handed’ policing as it could prejudice the jury and compromise the hearing’s fairness, Mr Justice Fulford ruled.

Documents show that Harwood avoided possible disciplinary proceedings at the Metropolitan police over an alleged road rage incident by resigning. He went on to join another force, then came back to the Met.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission found that disciplinary proceedings brought against Harwood included “unlawful arrest, abuse of authority and discreditable conduct”.

However, most of the complaints made against Harwood that related to his disciplinary history were unproven.

Nevertheless, the Tomlinson family lawyers argued that the unproven complaints at the very least suggested Harwood had evaded disciplinary hearings and pointed to flaws in police vetting procedures.

Image: Getty

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