When does something illegal become so widely socially acceptable that prohibition seems ridiculous? Perhaps it’s when the legal profession are reluctant to do anything about it. Pupil barrister Henry Mostyn has been caught possessing cocaine and marijuana – in other words, breaking the law he is meant to be serving – and the disciplinary hearing called it:

“[something that] can only be described as a lamentable lack of judgment.”

It delivered him a small financial slap on the wrist, and the chambers where he is a pupil decided to take no action. It seems even the lawyers themselves can’t be bothered with the drugs law, yet decriminalisation is still a political no-no.


Written by Anthony Zacharzewski

Anthony Zacharzewski was one of the founders of Demsoc in 2006. Before starting work for Demsoc in 2010, he was a Whitehall civil servant and a local government officer.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Richard Veryard

    The interesting question here is how evidence is framed and interpreted. People who want drugs to be legalized may interpret this incident as evidence of societal acceptance. People who don’t want drugs to be legalized may interpret the same incident as evidence of moral decline.

    Shall we interpret the laxity of the Catholic Church as evidence that grubby priests are becoming socially or societally acceptable?

  2. Anthony Zacharzewski

    I think the situations are dissimilar. The Catholic Church has never publicly denied the seriousness of offences against children *as offences*, even if in some cases it covered up or didn’t match its actions to its words.

    In this case the lawyers are themselves downplaying the importance of they law, as broken by a lawyer.