'Mr Loophole' held over 'attempt to pervert the course of justice'

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The Independent Online

He made his name aiding a string of celebrities and footballers from the model Caprice to David Beckham in their efforts to escape convictions for driving offences.

Now the solicitor Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole, is in need of some solid legal advice himself after being arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Freeman was detained in Manchester as part of an investigation by officers from Gwent Police, who also visited his law firm's city-centre offices.

Police declined to give further details about the investigation, but Mr Freeman, 49, speaking outside his home near Manchester yesterday, issued a statement saying he had done nothing wrong.

Mr Freeman posed for pictures outside his £2.5m mansion in Mere, Cheshire.

He said he denied the allegations but could not comment further. "I can't go into any details at all in relation to these allegations, other than to say I am totally innocent of the allegations made against me," he said.

Mr Freeman declined to answer questions on whether he will be defending himself or if the allegations related to motoring matters. Later he told The Independent it was "frustrating" not being able to say any more about the case, adding: "I am the client now and I have to follow the advice I have been given."

His firm, Freeman & Co Solicitors, has represented the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, the former England football captain David Beckham, the snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan and the golfer Colin Montgomerie.

In August, Mr Freeman was unable to prevent Caprice being banned from driving for 12 months after she admitted being drunk behind the wheel.

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: "A 45-year-old man and a 49-year-old man from the Manchester area have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

"The arrests have been made as part of an ongoing investigation being carried out by Gwent Police. The 45-year-old was arrested yesterday at around 9am and the 49-year-old at 11am.

"The two men were questioned by Gwent officers in the Manchester area and laterreleased on bail pending further inquiries at 11.30pm."

Both men were bailed until December, she added.

Mr Freeman's most recent high-profile case was that of Caprice's driving ban. She had admitted drinking a bottle and a half of red wine at lunch and several glasses at an evening party. Mr Freeman had unsuccessfully argued that Caprice should escape the mandatory minimum one-year driving ban for a first drink-driving offence because she had been taking an antibiotic, Cipro, to tackle cystitis, and it had worsened the effects of the alcohol.

A rare defeat for the solicitor, he described the judge's decision at the time as a "disappointing result".

In 1999 Beckham was charged with speeding in his Ferrari. Mr Freeman argued that at the time he was being chased by paparazzi and was forced to drive with excessive speed to avoid death or injury. He lost the case at the magistrates' court but took it to the Crown Court. The judge upheld the guilty verdict but revoked the three penalty points that had been imposed.

O'Sullivan was charged with failure to provide a urine sample for laboratory analysis. Mr Freeman successfully argued that because O'Sullivan had been suffering from depression he was medically unable to do so.

In an interview with The Independent this year Mr Freeman said that a common misconception of him was that he was morally supportive of offending motorists.