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Tuesday, Jun 02, 2020

Tributes paid to top QC found dead at his Glasgow home

Tributes have been paid to the QC and civil rights activist Derek Ogg who has died at the age of 65.

His career spanned work as a Crown prosecutor and latterly as a defence advocate.

Mr Ogg campaigned for the 2018 law which automatically pardoned gay and bisexual men convicted of sexual offences that are no longer illegal.

Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Ogg was a "brilliant advocate and a truly lovely man".

In a Twitter post, the first minister added: "It was always a pleasure for me to hear from him on issues he felt strongly about, and I will miss his wisdom and good sense."


'Fierce campaigner for his beliefs'

Gordon Jackson QC, dean of Faculty of Advocates, said: "All of us who knew Derek Ogg are deeply saddened by his passing.

"He was a marvellous advocate but more than that he was a fierce campaigner for his beliefs both on a personal and professional level. He will be greatly missed by everyone at the faculty."

Police Scotland said Mr Ogg was found by officers in his Glasgow home on Friday evening and there "would appear to be no suspicious circumstances" surrounding his death.

When Nicola Sturgeon offered an unequivocal apology to gay men convicted of sexual offences at Holyood in 2017, Mr Ogg was in the gallery watching.

Speaking on Radio Scotland that day, he said was a "wonderful day".

He added: "It's Scotland at peace with itself and it is a reconciliation between the people in Scotland who are alive and the families of gay people who are dead, who were prosecuted, convicted, simply because of the gender of the person they loved or fancied.

"You can't underestimate the scars that leaves on people. I've never been convicted of such an offence but the fact is that the law was there and could have been used, I could have been arrested.

"I was at the very beginning of my legal career - my career would have been destroyed. An apology, together with the pardons bill, is appropriate."


'Ready to assist anyone'

Fellow QC Tony Graham, stable director of Optimum Advocates, of which Mr Ogg was a member, said: "There was far more to Derek than his time in wig and gown.

"Whilst Derek was one of most well-read individuals one could encounter, he was also a man who was full of fun, compassion and ready to assist anyone - colleague or not - in any way he could.

"He provided an ear to those who needed his wisdom, could put a smile on the face of the sullen, inspire a laugh from those engrossed in sadness, and create a conversation in even the solemnest of rooms. Often, he did all of these things in a self-deprecating way."

He added: "We have lost not just a committed and talented colleague, but a loyal and generous friend. Glasgow High Court will be an unfortunately quieter place without Derek as he leaves a void uneasy to fill."

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