Celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman, aka "Mr Loophole", has claimed a grandfather killed by a speeding driver could have survived if he'd been wearing reflective clothing.
His client, motorist Simon Martins, pleaded guilty to causing the death of Rabbi Hyman Steinberg, a grandfather to 54 children. The court heard he was travelling at 42mph on a 30mph road and had sent a text message from behind the wheel just minutes before the collision.
Steinberg was walking to the Ohel Torah synagogue on Leicester Road, Manchester, on a dark and rainy December night in 2012. He was crossing a road and had almost got to the pavement when he was hit, but was lifted into the air and died from his injuries.
Martins was jailed for eight months, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 300 hours of community service, with a 15-month driving ban.
The defence said he was 'haunted' by the death, and tragically, that he had been blessed by Mr Steinberg's brother when he was born. Steinberg was a much-loved community figure who raised money for education for the young, along with the Gateshead Talmudical College and the Shaarei Torah Manchester Talmudical College.
At the time of the accident Mr Steinberg was wearing the traditional dress of many orthodox Jewish men, namely black hat, black suit and black overcoat.I'm not suggesting everyone must wear a hi-viz jacket, but something reflective that would give them a visible presence, such as a vest, arm bands or belt.Pedestrians along with motorists and cyclists all share road space, and in my view therefore must assume some responsibility to ensure their visibility...Even many dog owners feel compelled to put flashing collars around their animal's necks so they can be seen at night – yet at the same time they ignore their own safety.
Freeman called on the Government to require pedestrians to "light up" at night. He cited the fact councils are saving money by switching off street lights at night as one reason.
In the past, he has represented a large number of celebrities and is renowned for his detailed knowledge of motoring laws. His first high-profile case was that of Sir Alex Ferguson in 1999. Freeman argued that Ferguson had to use the hard shoulder to get to the training ground to allow for his upset stomach and need for a toilet.
Previously when asked about his tactics he commented: "Morally, I can't [justify it], but ethically, I can. My job is to give my clients the best defence I can. That is the job of every defence lawyer. I can't pick and choose who I defend based on my opinion; that would mean I was judging them, and that would be a dereliction of my duty."