here. There has still to be an inquest into Mr Tomlinson's death and this is not likely to happen before May 2011. There is also to be a Disciplinary Hearing against the officer - see post of 27th July. It now appears that the Metropolitan Police are keen to get the Disciplinary hearing over with before the end of the year - report in The Guardian Monday 4th October 2010. The Guardian comments as follows:
"One factor for the Met's decision to hold the hearing before the inquest is that it could be less damaging for its reputation if Harwood appears at the inquest as a former officer."
The actual source for that viewpoint is not stated but the sentence is very unsatisfactory since it might be read as suggesting that the outcome of the Disciplinary Hearing is already determined.
Given the problems involved with the various post-mortem examinations it would seem preferable that the disciplinary hearing is not held until after the inquest. There is a clear conflict between the views of
Dr. Patel - who was (controversially) appointed to conduct the first post-mortem - and the other experts as to the cause of death. It should also be noted that the CPS in making the decision not to prosecute ended their statement by saying - "At the conclusion of the inquest the matter will be reconsidered by the CPS in the light of any evidence which may be presented". That is surely another factor pointing against holding the disciplinary hearing before the inquest since the holding of the disciplinary hearing might well go against any such reconsideration of the prosecution decision. Ultimately, whilst the Metropolitan Police might well wish to move on from this matter, the public interest in getting the process right is overwhelming.