Criminal lawyer Neil Lawler was arrested outside a Sunshine Coast court and charged with drink-driving after allegedly acting for a client while drunk in court.
Criminal lawyer Neil Lawler was arrested outside a Sunshine Coast court and charged with drink-driving after allegedly acting for a client while drunk in court.

Top criminal lawyer’s drink-driving arrest

HIGH-profile criminal solicitor Neil Lawler has been arrested outside the Maroochydore courthouse and charged with DUI after allegedly acting for a client while drunk and slurring his words in court.

The Courier-Mail understands the 54-year-old partner at Brisbane law firm Lawler Magill was charged with drunk driving after allegedly returning a blood-alcohol reading of 0.270 per cent - more than five times the legal limit to drive.

He was arrested after leaving the Sunshine Coast courthouse, where he had represented a client during a sentencing hearing, it is understood.

Sources said Mr Lawler, a former police officer, showed signs of intoxication while at the bar table in court.

He was allegedly slurring his words during the court appearance and unsteady on his feet before he left the courthouse and got into his vehicle.

Police are believed to have observed the man, who is from Ashgrove, leaning against his car for support before getting behind the wheel.

Sources said officers parked behind Lawler's vehicle on Cornmeal Parade around 1.25pm so he could not drive away, before asking him to get out of the car.

It is understood to have taken Lawler several minutes to get out of the car, which witnesses say was dented, before he was detained and breath tested.

Lawler has been charged with drink driving and is due to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court on February 17.

He is currently in Maroochydore watch-house, The Courier-Mail has been told.

The charges come after Lawler's business partner Adam Magill, a former police officer, was in October 2018 charged with aggravated fraud, fraudulent falsification of records and aggravated money laundering.

The charges came after an 18-month investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

The corruption watchdog has alleged Magill was taking cash payments from clients without lodging them through his firm's trust accounts and in some cases, doubling up with Legal Aid funding.

Magill has denied the allegations and is fighting to get his legal practising certificate reinstated after being convicted of breaching his bail conditions.



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