He gets stars off driving charges – but won't help his daughter

'Mr Loophole' Nick Freeman says he wants to teach speeding Sophie a lesson
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The Independent Online

To celebrities with Ferraris who have got themselves into trouble with the law, Nick Freeman is a saviour, the lawyer who can usually be relied upon to find a technicality to help them walk out of court without so much as a point on their licence.

When actor Dean Gaffney was accused of doing 131mph down the motorway and snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan was charged with racing his Porsche while drunk, the man nicknamed Mr Loophole proved yet again his propensity for getting famous clients off the hook.

But when he heard that his own daughter Sophie, 19, had been caught doing 63mph in a 50mph zone in her Mini Cabriolet, Mr Freeman decided a bit of tough love was in order. He said yesterday he had refused to defend her when she was caught speeding while driving back from the family's apartment in North Wales.

Furthermore, he sternly warned his daughter that, as a driver with less than two years' experience, she faced a complete ban if she was caught again. "There was a slight conflict between Mr Loophole the dad and Mr Loophole the lawyer," he conceded. "I could have got her off very easily. There was an obvious loophole in relation to her case which was slightly frustrating and I was in a bit of a quandary. But I thought she needs to learn.

"I suppose I held the Sword of Damocles over her but I thought the best way to exercise my parental responsibility was to make her appreciate what she had done, to understand the consequences of breaking the law and that speeding can be a serious and dangerous issue."

He added: "I'm a hypocrite. I know."

Over the years, the lawyer from Cheshire has become the bane of health and safety campaigners with his knack for finding some form of loophole in cases against famous clients. When footballer Wayne Rooney, at just 18, was convicted in his absence of driving without insurance, and failing to produce his licence after police pulled over his BMW, the lawyer managed to overturn all three convictions arguing that his firm had sent a fax requesting an adjournment which the court had not included in the papers in time for the hearing.

And when the Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was prosecuted for driving on the hard shoulder, Mr Freeman successfully argued that it was an emergency as he had been suffering from diarrhoea and needed to get to a toilet.

For Mr Gaffney, famed for his EastEnders role, he said the prosecution case was flawed because a police officer failed to turn up in court. Mr O'Sullivan was saved from a drink-driving accusation when the lawyer insisted that, having refused to give a blood test, he had been unable to supply a urine sample because his depression made him too stressed to urinate.

But Mr Freeman showed no such mercy to his daughter. She had been using a car registered to his law firm so when a letter arrived at his offices stating the driver faced a £60 fine and three licence points, he informed her the punishment would teach her to drive safely. Admitting that some people might think he was displaying double standards, he insisted that getting a parking ticket as a penniless student had taught him a valid lesson and he hoped the same would apply to his daughter.

"I do feel sympathy with her a little bit," he added. "She is a responsible driver and she has been very mature about it. She said 'I will be very, very careful in future' and that was music to my ears."

Sophie said she would be paying the fine out of her own savings. She admitted she was speeding but said she was not a dangerous driver. "I was pretty shocked when I heard about it but to be honest I didn't expect my dad to defend me," she said. "He hasn't really given me a firm telling-off yet, although I suspect that will come."

Famous clients...

David Beckham

When the footballer's Ferrari was caught in a police trap doing 76mph in a 50mph stretch of the A34 in 1999, Freeman successfully overturned a conviction, arguing that Beckham was being chased by paparazzi.

Caprice

He failed to save the supermodel from a year's driving ban after she admitted drink-driving in 2005. He argued an antibiotic left her unable to process alcohol properly. He also accused police of targeting her because she was famous.

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