Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina was fined and given points on his licence today after admitting speeding in Liverpool.
The goalkeeper was represented by lawyer Nick Freeman, of Keep on Driving, who also goes by the name, “Mr Loophole” (a name he has now trademarked). One of the solicitor’s most memorable cases saw him defend Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson after he’d been caught driving on the hard shoulder of a motorway in a traffic jam, saying a Ferguson stomach upset had left him in desperate need to find a lavatory. The hard shoulder is reserved purely for emergency use, and Freeman helped him to prove that his toilet dash was an emergency.
This was in 1999, and Ferguson explained that he’d been taking Imodium tablets after the Manchester United club doctor had diagnosed acute gastroenteritis: “When I got on the M602 I started to feel the cramps again. When I got into the snarl-up of traffic I took another tablet. I stayed there for about four or five minutes. I then decided to try and get back to Old Trafford.”
Freeman asked him: “Putting it bluntly, did you need to go to the toilet?”
Ferguson replied: “That was very much the case. I had to go somewhere quickly. I was in a rush.”
Ferguson was found not guilty.
Before today’s hearing there was a suggestion that Reina had been driving at 90mph in a residential area, a speed which could have seen him facing a ban at the very least. But once the hearing was underway no mention was made of that speed, perhaps because the prosecution would have no way of proving it. Instead Reina admitted travelling at a speed “in excess of 40 mph”, which meant he could handle the penalties he faced as comfortably as the ones in football shoot-outs.
He was given three points on his licence, and a bill for a total of £330 to cover fines, costs and a victim surcharge.
The incident had taken place back on December 29th of last year, on Menlove Avenue in Woolton, South Liverpool, not far from 26-year-old Pepe’s home. Menlove Avenue is known to many because it was the home of Beatle John Lennon for most of his childhood.
After the hearing Nick Freeman said: “No speed was mentioned, other than it was in excess of 40mph, which was accepted by the defence.”
As well as Ferguson and now Reina, Freeman’s past successes – most of which come after he has found errors in the police’s involvement in bringing the case to court – include:
- Getting David Beckham a reduction in penalty points, after saying the footballer had been chased by paparazzi.
- Defending another Manchester United player – Dwight Yorke. Twice. In the first case he got the court to accept the speed gun used meant evidence from it was inadmissible. The second time saw Yorke admit to a lower speed than he was originally charged over, and in turn lower penalties, after he’d not signed an admission form for the police.
- Still with Manchester United players, Wayne Rooney was cleared of driving without insurance after it was pointed out he’d not been granted an adjournment he’d requested.
- He’s also helped out former Leeds pair Lee Bowyer and Jonathon Woodgate, who were both involved in an earlier trial which saw Woodgate found guilty of affray. Bowyer, a bullet dodged by Liverpool some years ago, got a charge of speeding at 132mph reduced to one of speeding at 99mph on a road with a 70mph limit. He still got a ban, it wasn’t his first speeding offence, but for a much-reduced 42 days. Woodgate had a case of driving at 85mph in a restricted zone dismissed after Freeman proved the police had used inaccurate measurements to calculate his speed.
- Helping Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear presenter, successfully defend a charge of driving at 82mph in a 50mph zone, because the police had failed to identify the actual driver of the loaned Alfa Romeo – Clarkson was even awarded costs.
- Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff escaped any penalties despite being caught on a speed camera travelling at 87mph in a 50mph zone. Police had taken two days longer than is allowed by law to send their notice to Freddie, meaning the Lancashire and England cricketer could not face any penalties.
- Actor Steve McFadden, snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan, Golfer Colin Montgomerie and transport boss William Stobart were also successful with Freeman as their representative.
- Not so successful was former Liverpool winger Mark Kennedy, who got a three-year ban, and former West Brom forward Lee Hughes. He was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, and sentences to six years in prison.