Peter Hayes (lawyer)
Hayes was admitted to the bar on 1 March 1973 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988. He was a specialist in banking, finance and corporations law. Hayes was involved in a number of high-profile cases, including defending Steve Vizard's bookkeeper, Roy Hilliard, who was subsequently convicted of falsifying accounts, sentenced to three years imprisonment and ordered by the Supreme Court of Victoria to repay over $2 million of misappropriated funds. Other work included defending suspects in the drug-related death of Dianne Brimble and counsel for Perth socialite Rose Porteous.
Allegations of drug use
In 2005 Hayes was subject to a professional complaint made by solicitor Isaac Brott to the Ethics Committee of the Victorian Bar. The solicitor, who worked with Hayes, asked that Mr Hayes be tested for drug use accused him of being an "inveterate cocaine user". The complaint was dismissed as vexatious and lacking in credibility.
Death and drug charges
Hayes died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on 21 May 2007, 11 days after being found naked and unconscious in an Adelaide hotel room. He was discovered by Tony Sobey, whom Hayes was representing, as a victim of the Mercorella Ponzi Scheme in relation to claims against the liquidators. Two women visited Hayes in his hotel room on the night of his death, and were tracked down via hotel security footage. One was a 21-year-old woman with a history of prostitution charges, and the other—a 28-year-old woman—was subsequently charged with administering a drug of dependence to Hayes.
Hayes's death is currently under coronial investigation, but it has been alleged that toxicology revealed he had ingested cocaine and heroin immediately before his death, and lethal drug overdose was the cause of death.
After Hayes' death, Victorian Bar Council chairman Michael Shand QC declined to comment on the original complaint of cocaine use, stating "the Bar Council is vigilant at maintaining the highest standards of practice at the bar" and would investigate the issues surrounding Hayes' death. When asked about drug use in the legal profession Australian Government Solicitor-General David Bennett QC replied: "barristers as a group would use illegal drugs less than the general community because they are likely to be concerned about breaking the law".
- Footballers to honour Hayes at MCG clash, 22 May 2007.
- Meldrum's List: Peter R. Hayes QC
- Bedwell, S: "Vizard Uncut: The Full Story", Melbourne University Press, (2007), (ISBN 9780522854749)
- His master's voice invoked, as Hilliard pleads guilty, 27 July 2005
- Probe into death of prominent Vic lawyer, 22 May 2007
- The Age: QC a headline act right to the end
- Herald Sun: Fears for Hayes visitor
- "ASIC v Giuseppe Antonio Mercorella & anor". Commonwealth Courts.
- "Colin Nicol & Samuel Davies as joint Receivers & Managers v PGLE P/L & ors". Commonwealth Courts.
- "Former Adelaide company director jailed". ASIC. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
- "Anthony John Sobey v Colin McIntosh Nicol & Samuel Charles Davies". Commonwealth Courts.
- The Age: Charges over QC's collapse
- The Age: 'Prostitute' faces charges over QC's collapse in hotel
- The Australian: Hayes 'ingested coke and heroin'
- The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner: Impaired Practitioners - Substance abuse and mental illness in the legal profession
- The Australian: Bar 'failed to act' when told QC used drugs
- Herald Sun: Peter Hayes tributes flow