News Story 23. News Headlines.
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This Article was written by Liz Hull:  it was publish in Britain on 21st. April, 2007... by 'The Daily Mail'. 
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A Millionaire couple have been jailed after they lied to help their son avoid a speeding conviction... on the advice of a firm of lawyers headed by the solicitor 'Mr Loophole'.
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Janet Lefton, 49, and her husband, Harold, 51, contacted the firm after their son Jeremy was twice caught speeding.  The business is headed by Nick Freeman, who has represented a string of celebrities controversially cleared of motoring offences.
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They claim the solicitors told them to deny having received the Notices of Intended Prosecution, [NIP's] which arrived through the post at their mansion on Belle Isle, an island in the middle of Lake Windermere, Cumbria.
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Jeremy, 21, was eventually acquitted after magistrates accepted Mrs Lefton's claims.  But the lie was exposed when police discovered that the Notices of Intended Prosecution had arrived... and all three Leftons were arrested.
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Last month Mrs Lefton and her son both admitted perjury at a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court and both parents also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.  All three were jailed for three months.
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Mr Freeman, whose firm has represented Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, former England captain David Beckham, snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan and golfer Colin Montgomery, is on police bail after being arrested on conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in November last year.
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It is unclear whether his arrest is linked to the Lefton case.  The Lefton's convictions came to light yesterday when their lawyers went to the Court of Appeal in London to try to have their jail terms cut.  Three judges ruled that the sentences were 'manifestly excessive' and agreed to 21 days for Jeremy and six weeks each for his parents.
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The hearing was told that university student Jeremy, who lives in Manchester, was twice caught speeding on camera in Wales in May 2005.  Notices of Intended Prosecution were sent to his home in Windermere and were opened by Mrs Lefton, who contacted Freeman and Co for advice.
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Mrs Lefton, a former lawyer and the daughter of the founder of Swinton Insurance, claimed she was told by the solicitors to do nothing but, if further Notice was received, to write to say she had not received the original Notices.  Lord Justice Gage, sitting with Mr Justice Burton and Judge Stephen Stewart, QC, said a letter was indeed sent to the police by the couple.
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'It misrepresented the position by saying the originals had not been received.  It falsely suggested [Jeremy] had no recollection of who was driving and falsely implied that others could have driven.'  Jeremy was convicted in his absence by magistrates, but they agreed to review the case.
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Last year, Jeremy and his mother attended court for another hearing.  Mrs Lefton was unexpectedly asked by Jeremy's solicitor to confirm that they had never received the documents.  She duly did, effectively committing perjury.  The scam unravelled after the family applied for defence costs and police examined the issue further.
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'Lost their good character'

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Lord Justice Gage agreed to cut their jail terms after accepting that the couple had acted on advice of the solicitors.  'By their actions, all three have lost their good character and severely damaged their reputation,' said the judge.  'They are genuinely remorseful for what they have done.'
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A man who answered the door to the Lefton's second home, in Mayfair last night refused to comment.  No-one was available for comment from Freeman and Co.
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It seems like their are a few lessons to be learned from this fiasco...
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  • If you decide to lie... your could lose a lot more than you stand to gain.
  • Even if you get expensive legal advice... you could still find yourself in trouble if you don't get your story straight.
  • If you say that other people could have been driving your car... make sure there really are some people who could have legally been behind the wheel.
  • Try not to involve anyone else in your story.  They might contradict you... and you might get them into trouble as well.
  • Take as many precautions as possible to make sure you don't get a Ticket in the first place.  [See Article, Living with Speed Cameras.]
  • If you get away with it... carefully consider whether you want to push your luck even further by trying to claim back your costs.
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