Barrister pleads guilty to obtaining drugs from criminal clients

Hendron: Pleaded guilty to four counts

A barrister infamous for his conviction for possession of drugs that led to the death of his boyfriend has now pleaded guilty to obtaining drugs from clients he was representing.

Henry Hendron, 42, was remanded in custody on Friday after pleading guilty at Woolwich Crown Court to three counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence, and one count of possessing a class A drug.

He will be sentenced on 19 April. The London Evening Standard reported yesterday that he has been released on bail after the judge realised he made an error when initially deciding not to grant bail.

The court heard last week how officers had arrested a man in 2021 on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A, B and C drugs. A forensic examination of his phone revealed messages from Mr Hendron asking the man – whom he was representing in a criminal case – to supply him with drugs.

An investigation found further evidence from 2020 indicating the barrister was purchasing drugs from another client. He was arrested in May 2022.

Detective Inspector Lewis Sanderson said: “At the time of his arrest, Hendron was a serving barrister. [His] behaviour… was unacceptable, unethical and illegal.

“Actions like his can tarnish the reputation of all those involved in the criminal justice system and the whole team were determined to bring him to account. As a result of the hard work and thorough investigation, Hendron has been now been made to face the consequences of his actions.”

In 2017, Mr Hendron was suspended from practising for three years following his conviction on two charges of possessing controlled so-called ‘designer chemsex’ drugs (mephedrone, known as ‘meow meow’, and GBL) with intent to supply. Tragically, the drugs led to the death of his teenage boyfriend at a party.

The suspension was backdated to the date of conviction in May 2016, when he was sentenced to a compulsory unpaid work order of 140 hours, with a supervision requirement.

Shortly after his return to practice in 2019, he was suspended again for three months  after he failed to comply with a determination of the Legal Ombudsman to pay a complainant £850.

However, the decision was overturned in 2020 by the High Court because he was already suspended at the time of the events. The Bar Standards Board admitted that the case had exposed a “lacuna” in its rules and the legislative framework.

Then, in 2021, Mr Hendron was reprimanded and prohibited from undertaking public access work for two years after another Bar disciplinary tribunal found that he had practised during his three-year suspension.

The Bar Standards Board had called for him to be disbarred and the failure to do so was cited by one of the submissions to the 2021 consultation on the sanctions guidance for disciplinary tribunals.

“The fact that this barrister was not disbarred at any point is astonishing,” it said. “There have been not one, but tens of perfectly justifiable reasons to disbar him.”

In the wake of the 2021 tribunal, Mr Hendron – who described himself at the time as a “recovering drug addict” – wrote on Twitter: “Presently I embark upon substantial life style changes so that tomorrow I can build back strong using this [experience] as a catalyst for change.”

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