Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, has launched a crowd funding page to help an 83-year-old farmer – who shot a convicted criminal he suspected of trying to steal diesel – pay his £30,000 court costs.
A jury last week at Hull Crown Court took just 24-minutes to clear Kenneth Hugill of GBH, after the incident at his isolated East Yorkshire farmhouse, in November 2015.
The court heard the man whom he shot in the foot has convictions for burglary, theft and possession of an offence weapon, and, at hospital, gave three different versions of events before admitting a farmer had shot him.
The trial also heard the injured man was also on a police intelligence list, and additionally, a second man who drove the “victim” to hospital had convictions for burglary and violence.
Despite his age and never being on the wrong side of the law, it was Mr Hugill who was hauled before the courts.
However, despite the not guilty verdict, Mr Hugill will still have to pay the £30,000 he incurred paying for his defence.
Following the hearing it was reported that the Hugill family would have to take out a loan for the amount and pay it back over two to three decades.
After reading about the case, Mr Freeman said he felt so strongly about the fact Mr Hugill would not be recompensed for his legal costs that he launched a crowd funding page, and is now asking the public for their support.
Mr Freeman said: “The current system of where those who are acquitted found not guilty are not entitled to recoup their legal fees is an absolute disgrace, particularly in circumstances such as these.
“This is not justice and that’s why I have created this crowd-funding page to help Mr Hugill pay the £30,000 legal fees he incurred in defending himself. I do not know Mr Hugill, nor did I represent him.
“In my view he should never have been prosecuted because the evidence I read in the media never supported the contention that there was never more than a 50 per cent chance of conviction.
“My opinion appears to have been vindicated by the short time it took for the jury to acquit.
“The CPS lawyer who decided to proceed with this prosecution should be held to account.
“The police response was absolutely pathetic too. Despite Mr Hugill phoning them immediately after the incident, it wasn’t until 15-hours later that they actually attended the scene.
“And when they did they were utterly confused as to what they were responding to, thinking they were dealing with a hostage situation!”
Mr Freeman added: “It would be fantastic if we can raise the full amount by crowd funding.
“I’m sure there are plenty of people who felt as equally incensed as I did after reading about the case, and will be happy to spare a few pounds in helping this hard-working family in their hour of financial need.”
The JustGiving Page is found at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/supportkennethhugill
About Nick Freeman
Nick Freeman is probably the best known solicitor practising in the country today.
He has been dubbed "Mr Loophole" by the press owing to his vast technical knowledge of motoring law matters and his ability to successfully challenge the prosecution over procedural irregularities.
Nick is widely known for his celebrity client list and high profile criminal defence cases.
Nick is the head of Freeman & Co. Solicitors and although based in Manchester, represents defendants in motoring and criminal cases all over the country.
After graduating from Chester Law School in 1979, Nick started his career as a prosecuting solicitor for Greater Manchester Police.
Nick soon became known for his technical legal abilities and robust court room style and he was soon recruited into private practice by the highly respected solicitors firm of Burton & Co. He was soon to be made a partner at the practice but in 1999 he decided to start his own firm following which Freeman & Co. was formed.
Owing to Nick's meticulous case preparation and technical legal skill he soon made Freeman & Co. one of the most respected and sought after criminal solicitors firms in the country.
Despite the celebrity client list and media attention, Nick and Freeman & Co. have built their practice on representing ordinary members of the public with the same tenacity as those more high profile cases that are reported in the press and on TV.
Outside of his professional practice Nick is a regular expert guest on TV and radio and is well regarded as an expert legal commentator. He is an ardent supporter of defendant anonymity in sex cases.
In recent times his credits have included Tonight With Trevor MacDonald, Close Up North West, Channel 4 News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 5 Live to name but a few. He also appears regularly on Sky News, BBC News 24 and Legal Eagles on ITV's This Morning. Nick is a regular legal commentator for the Sunday Times.
A father of 2 children Nick is a keen golfer with a 2.9 handicap and enjoys vigorous exercise with his Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Contacting Nick Freeman
For professional matters and representation Nick can be contacted through Freeman & Co. on 0161 236 7007 or you can send him a confidential email by clicking here.
If you would like to contact Nick for a media appearance or legal comment please call David Simister on 0845 389 26 26.