Craziness! A top barrister has been admitted to hospital. He collapsed in a hotel, allegedly after a prostitute administered drugs to him. It is not clear at this point what the drug was or whether it was administered with the barrister’s consent.
Another top barrister has said lawyers should be drug tested because of drug use in the legal profession. The head of the Victorian bar has said that this is nonsense.
It has to be admitted that about 10 years ago, Legal Eagle heard rumours of rampant cocaine abuse amongst some groups of solicitors and barristers. Some lawyers purportedly held cocaine parties, where all tabletops and cupboard tops were covered with cocaine.
Legal Eagle has actually tried cocaine herself. What?! When was this, I hear you ask?
Sorry to disappoint. It was under medical supervision during an operation. I broke my nose as a child, and had to get it straightened out again, because I was getting constant sinus infections. Anaesthetists administer cocaine during this operation as it stops bleeding and dulls pain. I wouldn’t recommend it as a way of trying cocaine. It did feel good for about 15 minutes after the operation, but then it wore off and my poor schnozzle hurt like hell. I had a nose like a strawberry for two weeks. My husband had to get a sinus operation, and was hoping he would get to try cocaine too, just once, but either he didn’t get given it or it had worn off by the time he came to. He was most disappointed.
Anyway, that’s the only time I’ve come across cocaine in my legal career. I’ve never seen or heard of any drug use by lawyers of my acquaintance. Obviously, I just move in the “wrong” circles? Or perhaps all those rumours are false?
I know that they do have drug tests at some companies already (eg, mining companies). Perhaps that’s the way of the future. I was thinking of the prospect. I would be pretty offended if someone wanted to test me for drugs. I spent years (a) cramming knowledge into this brain and (b) getting myself into a happy state. I’m not the kind of person to mess with that by taking drugs. So on a personal level, I’d hate it if they introduced drug tests for lawyers. But on a more abstract level, it would be interesting to see what the results would be if they did introduce drug tests amongst lawyers…?
Peter Faris QC has prepared a fiery open letter to Michael Shand QC, Chairman of the Victorian Bar regarding cocaine use at the bar.
Vale Peter Hayes QC, who died today. As I have said in a comment below, one of the problems with drug and alcohol use in the legal community is the devastating impact it can have on the physical and mental health of users.