There’s a surreal case going on at Southwark Crown Court this week
The trial has begun of ex-Tanfield Chambers barrister and immigration judge Michael Shrimpton on bomb hoax charges.
As Legal Cheek revealed back in April, Shrimpton — who still holds a valid practising certificate — has been accused of making an extremely weird terror warning in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics. Shrimpton denies communicating false information with intent.
Yesterday Southwark Crown Court heard some of the details. According to press agency reports, senior crown advocate Alan Blake, who is prosecuting in the case, told the court:
“The prosecution allege that in April 2012 when preparations for the games were at an advanced stage Mr Shrimpton passed information about an attack to persons in high authority. The information was extraordinary and dramatic.
“In essence Mr Shrimpton announced that a nuclear weapon had been stolen from the sunken Russian submarine, the Kursk, that such a nuclear weapon a number of years ago, had been smuggled and stored into the UK and was being stored in a London hospital, in preparation to be used during the Olympic Games.”
After phoning the Ministry of Defence and the office of Aylesbury MP David Lidington to relay this information in April 2012, Shrimpton attended Aylesbury Police Station. There he claimed that the weapon had been smuggled into the country by the Deutsches Verteidigungs Dienst (DVD), a Nazi unit that had infiltrated MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Blake continued:
“Mr Shrimpton insisted the DVD was a reference to a covert and rather sinister agency of the German Defence Service set up during World War Two but still very much active. He said it was the DVD responsible for sabotaging the Kursk in 2002 and removing four warheads.”
This is what Blake had to say about Shrimpton’s sources:
“When questioned about the sources who had provided him with this information Mr Shrimpton said he wouldn’t name them. It was an informal team of people who weren’t paid. There was someone in Munich who occasionally has lunch with Pope and a retired Air Martial.
“The information had originally come from the GRU, the Russian Defence Agency, but had come to him through a third party. He said his arrest was an ‘colossal cock-up’ worth an apology, damages and a nice lunch with MI5.”
And finally, here is some additional information about the science and logistics involved in the plot. Again, in the words of Blake, Shrimpton apparently said that …
“… one nuclear warhead was being brought into the UK on a submarine or nuclear container ship. The weapon was being transported on an ambulance in order to masque the radioactive signal and hospital — possibly Newham.
“He told Mr Burton [the private secretary of then Minister for Defence Philip Hammond] the weapon in the UK contained uranium and plutonium and was going to be used to attack the main stadium, Her Majesty the Queen or the stadium.”
On behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, Blake is arguing 1) that the information provided by Mr Shrimpton was false, and 2) that when he communicated those threats he didn’t honestly or genuinely believe that they were true, or rather he believed they were false.
Shrimpton — who is representing himself — denies communicating false information with intent. The case continues.
London law students: this is the time to make that visit to the public gallery.
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