A highly decorated police officer has been found guilty of possessing an indecent video of a child but cleared of corruption.
Novlett Robyn Williams, commended for her work in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster, showed no emotion as she was convicted of the charge by a majority of 10 to one.
Williams, 54, from south London, denied ever seeing the video, which was sent to her via WhatsApp by her sister, co-defendant Jennifer Hodge, in February 2018.
But prosecutors said there was no way that Williams could have missed the 54-second clip, and cited a response from the officer to her older sister to “please call” as evidence that she wanted to discuss the content.
Williams denied possessing an indecent image of a child and corrupt or improper exercise of police powers and privilege.
Social worker Hodge, 56, of Brent in north-west London, was found guilty of distributing an indecent image of a child.
Hodge’s long-term boyfriend, bus driver Dido Massivi, was convicted of two counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child, and one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image portraying a person having sex with a horse.
Outlining the case, prosecutor Richard Wright QC told jurors that Hodge sent Williams the “disgusting and disturbing” clip of a child of about five years old engaging in a sex act with a man.
But Williams chose not to inform police through fear it would implicate her sister and Massivi, he said.
Police were instead alerted by another recipient, rather than Williams, who as a senior police officer had an obligation to report it herself, Mr Wright said.
He said: “Miss Williams did not report the video. Therefore we say not only did she commit the criminal offence of possessing it, but she also failed to exercise her powers as a police officer to act upon it.
“Here, in simple terms, we say that the defendant Williams failed to act because she knew that to do so would place her sister and her sister’s partner at risk of arrest and a criminal offence.”
Mr Wright told jurors it was not suggested that Williams, Hodge or Massivi had any sexual interest in the video or had any “sinister purpose” in having or sharing it.
He said: “This is instead a case in which we allege that each of them made serious errors of judgment about how to handle this video and, in dealing with it as they did, each of them has committed serious criminal offences.”
Williams denied having seen the video.
Hodge said she had no idea that distributing the video was illegal, and said she wanted to find out if the content had been “taken down from the platform” and the man reported.
Massivi said he shared the video “for awareness”.
Giving evidence from the witness box, Ms Williams said: “I have lots of messages – there is not a particular pattern, some things I might look at … I am not selective in that way.
“It depends where I am, what else I am doing.
“Some things might grab my attention, other things may not.
“There are messages there I just don’t respond to, I can’t tell you why.”
Asked by defence counsel Anesta Weekes QC whether her “sympathy” for her sister would “influence” her decision on reporting her to police, Ms Williams replied: “Absolutely not.
“There is nothing I am beholden to anybody for.
“I don’t owe anybody anything.”
Adjourning sentencing until November 26, Judge Richard Marks QC granted the defendants continued bail.
He added: “Obviously I have not even begun to consider what the appropriate sentence might be.”
Williams made no reaction as the verdict was given but appeared upset as she left court.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matthew Horne said: “The prosecution called this a ‘sad case’ and referred to the ‘serious errors of judgment’ made by those involved.
“The court heard that Supt Williams has led a distinguished career in policing and previously been commended for her professionalism.
“The Independent Office for Police Conduct is carrying out an independent misconduct investigation into the actions of Supt Williams and we await the outcome.”
Williams remains on restricted duties, Scotland Yard said.