Nick Robinson successful in defence of Mr Michael Henley-Smith at his Conspiracy to Blackmail trial at Bournemouth Crown Court

Nick Robinson successfully defended Mr Michael Henley-Smith at his Conspiracy to blackmail trial at Bournemouth Crown Court. The trial lasted seven days and concluded when the jury, after three hours in retirement, unanimously acquitted Mr Henley-Smith.

The count faced by Mr Henley-Smith had been one of a number of counts on an Indictment containing offences of Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs against seven other defendants.

The drugs conspiracy stemmed from an extensive police investigation into an organised crime group supplying millions of pounds worth of Class A drugs on a national scale (Operation Firebug). Mr Henley-Smith was said to have contracted with the head of the OCG, to recover a substantial drugs debt owed by one of his dealers.

The Crown’s case was that Mr Henley-Smith made threats to kill the complainant and kidnap his family using a burner phone provided to him.  They relied upon Mr Henley-Smith’s previous conviction for blackmail committed precisely two years earlier in what were strikingly similar circumstances.

The Defence relied upon there being a justified reason for making the telephone call during which it was said he made the blackmail threat.  It was upon this evidence that he was found not guilty.

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