Hutton PRO is charged with rape

One of the Government’s key PROs during the Hutton Inquiry is to appear before the Old Bailey later this month accused of rape.

Department of Constitutional Affairs senior press officer Mike Burrell appeared before Horseferry Road Magistrates Court on 29 April after being charged with one count of rape and one count of indecently assaulting the same woman between 28 September and 1 October last year.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Burrell was released on conditional bail and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 19 May for a plea and directions hearing.

Last summer Burrell was a familiar face to journalists attending the Hutton Inquiry, into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly when he was assigned to handle media relations surrounding the investigation (PRWeek, 24 July 2003).

A Department for Constitutional Affairs spokesman would not comment on the allegations or whether Burrell had been suspended. The department, which contains the Scottish and Welsh offices, is in the process of recruiting a director of comms.

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