Six Ex-Met officers to appear in court following ‘racist WhatsApp jokes aimed at Rishi Sunak and Duchess of Sussex’

Six Ex-Met officers to appear in court following ‘racist WhatsApp jokes aimed at Rishi Sunak and Duchess of Sussex’

Legal Proceedings Against Ex-Met Police Officers Six former Metropolitan Police officers are set to appear in court due to allegations of sharing offensive and racist jokes via a WhatsApp group. The content of the messages reportedly targeted notable figures such as the Duchess of Sussex, Rishi Sunak, and Queen Elizabeth II.

Accused Individuals and Group Name The individuals facing charges in this case are Peter Booth (66), Robert Lewis (62), Anthony Elsom (67), Alan Hall (65), Michael Chadwell (62), and Trevor Lewton (65). The alleged offensive messages were exchanged within a WhatsApp group named “Old Boys Beer Meet.”

Racist Messages and Accusations Against Lewis Robert Lewis, who had a subsequent role at the Home Office after retiring from the Met in 2015, is at the center of the accusations. He faces eight allegations related to sending racist messages. These messages purportedly included slurs targeting black people, Romanians, the Chinese, and Muslims. Additionally, Lewis is accused of sharing a photo that featured Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel, and Sajid Javid under a mocked-up street sign reading “Browning Street.”

Accusations Against Other Defendants Anthony Elsom faces three charges, with one involving a picture shared on WhatsApp suggesting that Princess Catherine had made derogatory monkey noises toward black children. Peter Booth faces four charges, including sharing a picture of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with a golliwog doll and an alleged joke about Pakistani flood victims. Michael Chadwell and Trevor Lewton each face one allegation, while Alan Hall is charged with three counts, including an alleged racial slur targeting the Duchess of Sussex’s race.

Background to the Charges The charges stem from an investigation initiated after a BBC Newsnight report aired in October of the previous year, prompting a probe by the Metropolitan Police. All the accused officers left the force between 2001 and 2015 and were formerly part of the Diplomatic Protection Group, responsible for safeguarding high-profile individuals.

Statement from Commander James Harman Commander James Harman, who leads the Met’s Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command, commented on the case, expressing satisfaction that charges had been brought following determined investigative efforts. He emphasized the Met’s commitment to rebuilding public trust, acknowledging the impact of previous high-profile incidents and investigations involving officers or former officers.

Chronology of Alleged Messages The charges pertain to messages reportedly sent between September 2020 and September 2022.

Upcoming Court Appearance The accused individuals, Lewis, Elsom, Booth, Hall, Chadwell, and Lewton, are scheduled to appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2 pm on Thursday. No pleas have been entered in the case as of yet.

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