On 31 January 2013 a jury at Stafford Crown Court acquitted Michael Smith of robbery. The alleged offence had occurred in June 2012 in Bridgnorth, Shropshire and lead directly to the torture and killing of property developer, Richard Sherratt. Smith originally faced a count alleging murder but the trial judge, HH Judge Tonking, dismissed that charge on the first day of the trial. The jury convicted Emma Bate, a prostitute, whose clients included both Sherratt and Smith of murder. Following his acquittal Michael Smith was released from custody having spent in excess of 7 months on remand. David Josse Q.C. represented Smith instructed by Cooper Rollason.