In the Media

Lawyer of the week: Sally Walsh

PUBLISHED November 24, 2011

Sally Walsh, a senior lawyer in the Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division at the Crown Prosecution Service, was the reviewing lawyer in the case of the Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, the former captain, and Mohammed Asif, a bowler, who were given prison sentences for corruption in a betting scam that took place during a Test against England.

It is the first successful prosecution of sportsmen under the Gambling Act 2005.

What were the main challenges in this case and possible implications?

Having dealt with the ?Posh and Becks? kidnap allegation, which was also a News of the World story, I was already alert to the potential difficulties in dealing with an investigation that wasn?t started by the police so could advise the police on how best to avoid the pitfalls. There were also challenges in dealing with the International Cricket Council, which was naturally keen to get on with its own disciplinary hearings ? but, working with the ICC lawyers, that was avoided.

What was your worst day as a lawyer?

As an articled clerk, I went to deal with a hearing before a notoriously prickly district judge. Before the hearing, my principal asked me what I would say to a particular question and I happily trotted out the answer, but when the judge asked me the same question I completely dried up and couldn?t say anything. Somehow, I still went on to become an advocate.

What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?

Going to Washington to review the evidence the Americans had on the British detainees in Guant?namo Bay and then advising the Attorney-General about it to assist his negotiations for their release. Even though I got David Perry, QC, out of his bed to discuss the evidence, he was still kind enough later to say: ?I?ve read Sally?s advice, Attorney, and I agree with it.?

Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

I always worry what my husband Ray will think, but I can rely on him to agree that I?m in the right, whatever his actual opinion.

Why did you become a lawyer?

Coming from a family of teachers, I might have ended up as one if I hadn?t seen my mother?s exam papers and decided they were too difficult.

What would your advice be to anyone wanting a career in law?

Always secure at least the promise of a training contract before you embark on the Legal Practice Course, otherwise you risk wasting your time and a great deal of money.

If you had not become a lawyer, what would you have chosen and why? An archaeologist, because you can wear jeans to work.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Being trounced by the grandchildren at computer games ? I love computer games but I?m the world?s worst gamer (thank you, The Times, for introducing me to World of Warcraft).