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  • Top lawyers' 'heads full of coke'
  • ABC news online
  • 16/05/2007 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: admin ( 59 articles in 2007 )
Melbourne lawyer Peter Faris, QC, says there is a drug problem among high flyers in the legal profession.

Mr Faris says cocaine is being used in the Victorian and New South Wales legal fraternities.

He says the legal profession needs to address the problem.

"If senior lawyers are using cocaine, I think the legal profession has got a responsibility to do something about it and try and assist them and try and stop it," he said.

"It's not good for anyone, it's not good for their health and it's not good to turn up in court with a head full of coke."

Mr Faris says he has been in court against lawyers who are under the influence.

"They don't look well - they're sweaty, they seem to be hyped up over a number of days, their behaviour is erratic," he said.

"Some days, you can talk to them and they're normal and sensible, other days they are quite unreasonable."

Victorian Bar Council chairman Michael Shand, QC, says Mr Faris' claims are nonsense.

"They're extreme and unsubstantiated," he said.

"The Bar Council's vigilant to maintain the highest standards of practice at the bar.

"We're a delegate of the Legal Services Board. We have the power to suspend or cancel practising certificates if circumstances require it.

"But no such case of drug use has come before the council during my time on it.

"We don't ignore the problems, medical and otherwise, that barristers like other members of the community may encounter.

"We have in place and have for some time had in place a bar care scheme to provide free counselling to barristers in distress."

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