Mr Loophole criticised for ‘sharp practice’

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The lawyer known as Mr Loophole has been condemned for “sharp practice” by the High Court.

A judge criticised Nick Freeman for failing to put “all his cards on the table” in a speeding case. Sir John Thomas, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, said there had been sharp practice of a kind the High Court “wants to see stamped out”.

Mr Freeman earned his “Mr Loophole” tag by getting motorists cleared in cases that appeared impossible to win. He has written a book called Art of the Loophole: Making the Law Work for You.

But his methods were criticised in the case of Zafar Ali, of north west London. Ali pleaded guilty to driving a Porsche at more than 117mph on a 70mph section of the A23. He was fined £600 and given six penalty points.

Mr Freeman became involved when Ali was summoned back to court after a second information was laid regarding the speeding incident. He represented Ali.

Cross-examination of a police witness revealed errors in police statements, and Ali was acquitted after the prosecution offered no further evidence. Immediately after the acquittal, Mr Freeman applied to the court to set aside Ali’s earlier conviction on the grounds it was also flawed by errors and inaccuracies in police statements.

The case came to the High Court this week after the magistrates refused the set-aside application.

Dean George, representing Ali at the High Court, argued the magistrates’ refusal was “wrong and unreasonable”. But Sir John said Mr Freeman should have told the second trial about Ali’s earlier conviction and that he intended to apply to have it set aside.

That, said the judge, would have enabled the case to be reopened and further evidence called, including a DVD corroborating that a speeding offence occurred.

Sir John said: “Without any shadow of doubt (Ali) would have been convicted. He had no defence.”

Instead Mr Freeman had taken Ali’s case before justices and prosecutors “who had no idea” he would be seeking to have his conviction set aside once he had been acquitted.

Sir John said: “The court needs to be told what is going on. This is sharp practice of the highest order.”