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Australia Agonising Over the Problem of Cocaine Use by Lawyers

e only solicitor who has been convicted of drug trafficking.

Australian Federal Police sources say that there are taped intercepts of a conversation between a "supergrass" and drug boss Tony Mokbel in which a Melbourne lawyer was named as someone using drugs. But the police also warned that the two parties having the conversation were unreliable witnesses.

Using cocaine would be a ground for complaint as it is illegal; if it were proved to be affecting a lawyer's performance, he could be suspended from practice immediately. But the bar has been partial to its members, it is charged.

There are many who point out that like performance-enhancing drugs in sport, cocaine can provide an unfair advantage. At the very least, the legal profession should require an annual medical check-up and if a drug problem is revealed, then those lawyers should receive help to overcome their problem.

There is another reason for the profession to take a more robust position on drugs: the need to protect the public. Random drug tests and annual medical checkups might be a sound investment in the reputation of the legal profession, says Ysaiah Ross, author of Ethics in Law.


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