A Drink At the Bar
This witty, opinionated and intriguing memoir reveals the inside stories of classic criminal cases the former criminal barrister and judge was party to, whilst detailing his personal struggle with alcoholism.
A Drink at the Bar: A memoir of crime, justice and overcoming personal demons is the witty, opinionated and revealing memoirs of Judge Graham Boal QC, a criminal barrister for thirty years before serving as a judge for nine years until his retirement as a Permanent Judge at London’s Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, in 2005.Â
Boal’s career highlights included his being the legendary George Carman’s junior in the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe’s trial for conspiracy to murder in 1979, leading for the Crown at the Appeal of the Birmingham Six in 1991 and becoming First Senior Treasury Counsel. His memories of key cases in his career are fascinating but his day-to-day experiences, and the underlying legal issues and happenstance, are every bit as revealing and interesting.
Boal has been described as ‘clubbable’, a man who enjoys cricket, golf and life in a Norfolk village, but as his brilliant career progressed he found himself increasingly dependent on the demon alcohol. He went into treatment for alcoholism and depression in 1993, and has been a recovering alcoholic ever since, including his years as a judge at the Old Bailey, the court at which most of the most serious criminal cases in the country are tried.Â
This intriguing memoir reveals the many inside stories of classic criminal cases and the author is unstinting in his analysis of his professional achievements and personal struggles. This will be an essential read for all those interested in legal and political issues and the toll that the pressures of high office can put on one’s personal life and wellbeing. The author is now a trustee and board member of WDP, a leading addiction charity.