Michael Shrimpton – Barrister gets 12 months in prison

Michael Shrimpton – Barrister gets 12 months in prison



We looked last year at the, frankly somewhat bizarre, case of Michael Shrimpton – the barrister and former part-time Judge, who was convicted of two counts of making a bomb hoax on 25th November 2014.

Sentence was adjourned until 6th February 2015, with a psychiatric report being ordered. On the 6th February, Mr Shrimpton was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.


Facts and Sentence

The two counts related to when he told “a close colleague of former Defence Secretary Philip Hammond that a nuclear device was planted in a hospital in east London.” The second count related to the next day when “he telephoned the offices of David Lidington MP and repeated” his claim about their being a nuclear bomb near the Olympic site.

We don’t know much about the sentence, apart from the fact that it was 12 immediate custody. The only report that we have of the sentencing remarks is the Judge saying that “This is a case that cries out for immediate custody, it is impossible for me to suspend the sentence in this case, however I am prepared to take a merciful approach.”

The merciful approach is presumably passing a shorter sentence than he otherwise would have.

As we noted last time, there are no guidelines for this offence and it is very much fact specific. It seems that the Bar Standards Board have moved swiftly (by their normal standards at least) and suspended Mr Shrimpton. Between this and the conviction for child pornography, we don’t expect Mr Shrimpton to be back in Court anytime soon. Apart from possibly the Court of Appeal – we imagine that he will attempt to appeal his conviction and sentence. We would be very surprised if either was successful.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. If the offence requires you to have no reasonable belief in the truth of what you warn then why was Phil Hammond – whom the internet suggests he “warned” and who passed on the warning – not prosecuted? Did an ex-Secretary of State reasonably believe the bizarre details of the warning? Perhaps the CPS was playing a cruel joke at both their expense. Seems like a frightful waste of effort to prosecute this and an excessive sentence to boot.