The country’s best-known traffic lawyer has accused police of acting as “judge and jury” in Christmas anti-drink drive campaigns.
Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said the decision by a number of forces – including Staffordshire and Sussex – went against the fundamental presumption of innocent until proven guilty.
Mr Freeman, who has represented some of the country’s best-known celebrities, said: “Naming these people before there is a guilty verdict is at best misguided; at worst it is totally immoral.
“Naming and shaming before conviction, unless it is in the public interest to do, is ridiculous and is potentially designed to encourage vigilante action.
“I have represented hundreds of clients who have been acquitted for a whole variety of different reasons. This means they have been found not guilty. They leave court without a stain on their character.
“If any person has been named and shamed and is ultimately acquitted they may have a substantial claim for damages against the police.
Mr Freeman added: “I cannot imagine that the releasing of these names is a deterrent for anybody, so the decision to do so astounds me. It is simply not in the public interest.
“The presumption of being innocent until proven guilty is one of the fundamental tenets of the legal system. It is imperative that this presumption remains intact. It was only yesterday that we learned that no charges were to be preferred against comedian Jim Davidson.
“The police are acting beyond their remit. Their function is to prevent and detect crime by the gathering and collating of evidence in an impartial manner, which is then presented to the Crown Prosecution Service who ultimately decide if there is sufficient evidence to prosecute.
“Whilst I applaud the police efforts in endeavouring to raise the profile of drink driving would it not be more sensible to achieve this goal by publishing the personal details of all those defendants who have been convicted.
For Further Information, Please Contact:
Nick Freeman, Freeman & Co, on 0161 236 7007
David Simister, Different PR, on 0845 389 26 26/07870 550 760