Porsche driver who killed top criminal barrister as he left Law Rocks gig jailed for one year

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

David Batcup was a tenant at Charter Chambers

David Batcup

A Porsche driver who killed a top criminal barrister and part-time judge travelling home from a ‘battle of the bands’ event for lawyers has been jailed for one year.

Michael Sunnooman is understood to have been travelling at around 40mph when he struck 64-year-old barrister David Batcup as he crossed a road in September 2016. Reports at the time suggested that Sunnooman then drove off, but eventually stopped around 700 metres up the road and called the police.

Batcup — a tenant at Charter Chambers — had just left a Law Rocks charity event in Balham, South West London, at the time of the crash. The event had featured performances from lawyers at Mishcon de Reya, Harbottle & Lewis, and One Inner Temple Lane. Law Rocks has recently gained charitable status, and has set up an annual award in Batcup’s name.

A nurse, who had been eating in a restaurant close by, saw Batcup lying in the 30mph-limit road and rushed over to perform first aid. The part-time crown court judge was pronounced dead at the scene just before 11pm.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Sunnooman was due to face trial for causing death by dangerous driving, but pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey earlier this week to the lesser offence of causing death by careless driving. At the hearing, Judge Richard Marks QC reportedly told Sunnooman that a custodial sentence was “extremely likely”.

And it was a custodial sentence Sunnooman received. Returning to the Old Bailey today, the 52-year-old was jailed for one year and disqualified from driving for two-and-half years. Sunnooman’s driving suspension will come into effect upon his release.

The legal profession was quick to pay tribute to Batcup following news of his untimely death. Taking to Twitter, fellow criminal barrister Max Hardy described him as “utterly professional utterly courteous”, while Farringdon Chambers’ Brent Martin said he was a “talented barrister and a charming man”.

Batcup graduated from University College London and was called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in 1974. He had been the head of Charter Chambers, but had retired from this position when he was appointed to the judiciary.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub

Related Stories

Interactive website lets public play judge in real criminal cases

New initiative launched by Sentencing Council

20 hours ago

Green contracts: the hidden key to ESG enforcement?

City Uni law grad Sammar Masood explores the viability of ESG clauses in commercial contracts

2 days ago

Partner profits rise at Ashurst and Clydes as more firms release financials

Hill Dickinson and CRS post strong numbers too

2 days ago

Historic firsts mark swearing-in of new Lord Chancellor

Shabana Mahmood swore oath on the Qur’an in ceremony conducted by Lady Chief Justice

3 days ago

Linklaters takes top spot in latest Stonewall rankings 

12 law firms recognised for D&I efforts

3 days ago

Travers pushes NQ lawyer pay to £120k

Rises for trainees too

3 days ago

Bakers boosts junior lawyer pay by 19% to £140k

Healthy increases for firm's rookie too

4 days ago

What does AI really mean for aspiring lawyers? A tech expert explains

ULaw’s Patrick Grant deep dives into the potential benefits and pitfalls of AI in law

4 days ago

Monday morning round-up

The top legal affairs news stories from this morning and the weekend

4 days ago

The best social media posts of the week

A round-up of online musings, memes and more

7 days ago

Reed Smith and Ashurst push NQ solicitor pay to £125K

City salary rises continue

Jul 11 2024 7:46am

‘Unsupervised’ trainee awarded £36k after enduring training contract from hell

Handed two lawyers' caseloads on second day

Jul 10 2024 11:33am

GDPR vs. Freemium: why social media giants are winning

Aberdeen law student Iakov Shuvalov assesses GDPR's effectiveness in 'freemium' models, where 'free' services may compromise privacy

Jul 10 2024 8:37am