Former Macfarlanes partner guilty of drink-driving charges

A former Macfarlanes partner who recently resigned from the firm’s LLP has been found guilty on two counts of drink-driving and two further charges and has been taken to hospital before being sentenced in January.

Francis Bridgeman, who appeared in court last week on drink-driving charges and was alleged to have concocted a story about being kidnapped by an armed gang to get out of the charge (16 December 2011), was convicted on the four charges on Friday (16 December).

A jury at Lewes Crown Court found Bridgeman guilty of driving without due care and attention, failing to report a road accident, perverting the court of justice and driving while unfit through alcohol.

He has been bailed and will be sentenced on 20 January. It is understood that he collapsed in court and was taken to hospital.

The court heard last week that Bridgeman claimed he had been attacked by an armed gang who stole his Range Rover Sport and crashed it into a telegraph pole while he was driving home from work, according to reports in the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror.

But prosecutors told the court that Bridgeman crashed the four-wheel drive vehicle himself on 6 April after drinking five pints of Guinness, according to the reports.

Prosecutor Richard Barton told the court Bridgeman had “fabricated a web of lies, claiming to have been kidnapped by armed men, and he did so in order to avoid questions about the crash”.

Bridgeman, a restructuring partner, left Macfarlanes’ LLP on 31 July, according to Companies House filings.

The firm said he resigned in the summer and that this was a “personal matter”.