Car park crash lawyer was over alcohol limit

A top barrister crashed into a parked car while arriving for work at Northampton Crown Court before staggering off to represent a client, a court heard.

Grant Goodlad, a former president of Northamptonshire Law Society, was seen reversing his Jaguar into Steven Howard's car, getting a pay and display ticket and then walking "unsteadily" into court.

He now faces the possibility of being disbarred as a barrister and struck off as a solicitor by the Law Society after being disqualified from driving for two years, which could be reduced if he attends the impaired driver course.

Goodlad pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

Julie Costello, prosecuting at Northampton Magistrates' Court yesterday, said Mr Howard's Ford Focus was left with bad scratches along one side following the incident in The Mounts car park at 10.30am on February 9.

She said: "When speaking to police, Mr Howard said the driver smelled strongly of alcohol and appeared unsteady on his feet. He was seen walking off towards the crown courts."

Police officers established the Jaguar belonged to 53-year-old Goodlad, of Welford Road, Thornby, at which point a tannoy alert was made within Northampton Crown Court appealing for the barrister to return to the car park.

Mrs Costello said officers described him as "unsteady walking and appeared very drowsy".

She added: "He said to officers that he had to return to crown court because he had business there representing a client, and repeated this request later."

A breath test taken showed Goodlad had 98 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, almost three-times the drink-drive level of 35mg.

Murray Holmes, defending, said his client conceded he had "a drink problem" and added Goodlad had already taken steps to address the issue with the help of his GP.

He appealed for magistrates to be lenient, adding: "My client said during his interview that he had ruined his life, and I hope for his sake that he has not, but it is altogether possible that he has.

"He has to consider the catastrophic effects his actions may have on his future.

"He is not in double jeopardy but in fact triple jeopardy.

"He has to face up to this court's actions, in due course, the decision of the Bar Council in which he could be disbarred, and thirdly, the Law Society's decision as to whether he will be struck off or not."

Presiding magistrate Kevin Foreman ordered him to complete 40 hours of unpaid work and pay court costs of 80.