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News > OE news > Graham Boal KC 1943-2022

Graham Boal KC 1943-2022

In memory of His Honour Judge Graham Boal KC (Powell 1957-62)
19 Jan 2023
OE news

We are sad to announce that His Honour Judge Graham Boal KC (Powell 1957-62) died on 30 December 2022 aged 79. An obituary appears in today's edition of The Times.

Graham Boal's legal career spanned four decades and he was involved in some of the more famous criminal trials in the latter part of the 20th century: in 1977 as junior counsel for the prosecution of the IRA's 'Balcombe Street Gang'; as junior defence counsel in the trial of Jeremy Thorpe MP in 1979; and in the overturning of the convictions by the Court of Appeal in 1990 of the 'Birmingham Six', who had been convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings in 1975. He was called to the bar in 1966 and took silk in 1993, before being appointed an Old Bailey judge in 1996.

At the College, Boal was the son of the school doctor. His interest in law was sparked by the trial of John Bodkin-Adams, the Eastbourne GP who had been accused of murdering a number of elderly women in the town, then benefiting from bequests they had left him in their wills. Boal, aged 13, saw Bodkin-Adams in court and decided that a legal career was for him. He said: 'From then on there was nothing else I wanted to do in life'.

He was the guest speaker at the Eastbournian Society's Over-60s lunch in May 2019, when he gave a talk on the miscarriages of justice that he had witnessed.

Described as jocular and clubbable, Boal was, in 1993, being treated for depression and alcoholism. He wrote frankly about this in his memoir, A Drink at the Bar, which was published in 2021, and hoped that it would serve as encouragement to other victims of addiction to seek help.

You can read The Times obituary here (if you do not have a Times online subscription you may have to sign up for a free trial to read it).

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