Michael Shrimpton found guilty on two counts of ‘communicating false information’
The Shrimp has been potted! Was there ever any doubt that this would be the outcome ? This is what happens when you make the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond look like a complete imbecile. For background read my take on the trial here- Michael Shrimpton: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Is the Shrimp Potty ? Well, they do say that ‘a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.’ But a fool isn’t necessarily mentally unstable, a fool may just be naive. However, after the majority guilty verdict Judge McCreath went for broke. After all what better way to put someone away for an indefinite period and completely discredit them than to get them sectioned under the Mental Health Act ? He told Mr Shrimpton;
‘The sentence that I pass upon you will have to reflect that gravity of the conduct of which you have been convicted.
‘But if, as may be the case, there is some underlying reason for it, then it seems to me important that I be informed of that underlying reason and I am therefore minded to order that you undergo psychiatric examination.’
Above and beyond the ludicrousness of this entire trial there is one point the authorities should reflect on while they congratulate themselves on a job well done. For Mr Shrimpton did pass on the information believing that it was genuine and while the same authorities are criticising Facebook for not passing information on that might have saved Lee Rigby’s life, and while they encourage the public in general to share their suspicions and alert the authorities about possible terror threats, they’ve just convicted a man who did just that.
The fault was not with Mr Shrimpton for passing on information that he believed to be true but with the then Secretary of Defence Philip Hammond for being a complete twat and not checking Mr Shrimpton out before putting the police and security services on full alert.
Is the lesson that the public should take away from this that we are in danger of being convicted for ‘communicating false information’ if we pass on to the authorities any suspicions we believe to be well founded but turn out to be false ?