Criminal Justice

Ex-BigLaw Partner Collapses in Court as Judge Warns of Likely Jail Time for Drunk-Driving Case Lies

Things went from bad to worse for a solicitor in a major London law firm after he apparently had a few too many alcoholic drinks and crashed his Range Rover last year.

Found later at home by police, where he tested over the limit, Francis Bridgeman said he had been kidnapped at knifepoint and taken away by the carjackers in another vehicle, reports the Daily Mail.

However, closed-circuit television footage showed his own luxury ride weaving as if the driver had been drinking heavily before the crash. And testing revealed Bridgeman’s DNA on the airbag, indicating he had been behind the wheel when it crashed into a telegraph pole.

Now 43, the former Allen and Overy partner resigned in December from his subsequent job at Macfarlanes. He was found guilty by a 12-member Brighton Crown Court jury of perverting justice. Warned by the judge that he faces a likely jail term when he is sentenced next month, Bridgeman collapsed in the dock and paramedics were called, the newspaper recounts.

The jury deliberated only two hours after a five-day trial, apparently finding the government’s version of the case persuasive.

“The sad truth is, you started lying in order to get out of a possible drink driving offense,” contended prosecutor Richard Barton during Bridgeman’s trial. “‘You thought that with your experience as a lawyer you would be able to talk your way out of trouble.

“That lie got bigger and bigger as you went on,” Barton continued. “Like jumping into a bramble bush, it got harder to get out of it the more you struggled.”

The article doesn’t include any comment from Bridgeman or his counsel.

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