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Top barrister jailed after asking to buy drugs from clients

Henry Hendron, 42, has previously represented high-profile figures including Nadine Dorries.

A barrister who previously represented high-profile figures including Nadine Dorries has been jailed for 14 months after asking clients to sell him drugs.

Messages found on 42-year-old Henry Hendron’s mobile phone revealed he had asked to buy to buy Class A methamphetamine and then-Class C GBL from Arno Smit and Ezra Benson, Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Hendron, who had represented both men over drug supply allegations, was arrested outside Belmarsh prison in May last year while visiting Smit as his lawyer.

Conservative leadership bid
Henry Hendron’s client list included Tory MP Nadine Dorries (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

He was jailed for 14 months by Judge Jonathan Mann KC on Tuesday after previously admitting two counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting the supply of Class A drugs, one similar charge involving Class C drugs, and possession of a Class A drug.

Judge Mann described Hendron as “clearly bright and capable”, adding: “It is clear you are a well thought-of person both professionally and personally.”

The judge told him: “I want to make it clear that it is not the fact that you are a barrister that is so serious.

“What is so serious is these offences have been committed by you in the context of you asking those you represent, or represented, to supply you with drugs.

The court heard Hendron had asked to buy drugs from Smit in September 2021 just weeks before his client was arrested.

Henry Hendron court case
Barrister Henry Hendron outside Woolwich Crown Court (Eleanor Cunningham/PA) 

He then represented Smit at the police station, the magistrates’ court and at Woolwich Crown Court, where his client entered not guilty pleas in November 2021 but was later jailed.

“The consequence of that professional act is beyond my jurisdiction, but it shows, if I may say, the seriousness and the level to which you had sunk,” the judge told him.

“You were messaging a client of yours who was later to face crown court proceedings for supply of drugs, you were encouraging him to supply you with drugs, then went to court to represent him.

“So there is an abuse of responsibility to that defendant and an abuse of responsibility to the court.”

Hendron, who was called to the Bar in 2006, was known for representing prominent clients including the Earl of Cardigan.

According to reports, in 2009 he acted in a civil matter for then Tory MP Ms Dorries, 66, who later served as culture secretary in Boris Johnson’s government and quit as an MP last Friday after missing out on a peerage in the ex-prime minister’s resignation honours.

But Hendron’s career floundered after his 18-year-old boyfriend Miguel Jimenez was found dead at the flat the couple shared in Pump Court, Temple, in the City of London, after taking a lethal cocktail of so-called chemsex party drugs.

He admitted buying £1,000 worth of M-cat or Meow Meow and GBL from award-winning BBC producer Alex Parkin and was handed a community order with 140 hours of unpaid work at the Old Bailey in 2016.

Parkin was sentenced to 200 hours.

Hendron, from Soho, central London, was suspended by the Bar Standards Board for three years following his 2016 convictions.

He was reprimanded and prohibited from undertaking public access work for two years following a disciplinary hearing in 2021 after holding himself out as a barrister on websites while suspended.

Sean Sullivan, defending, highlighted his client’s drug addiction and the impact over the death of his partner in 2015.

“It seems inevitable that Mr Hendron will never be practising as a barrister again,” he added.

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