Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Lord Advocate that Scotland so dearly needs but sadly will never have

[Justice for Megrahi’s secretary, Robert Forrester, has circulated to JFM’s members and supporters the following tribute to the late Jock Thomson QC:]

It pains me to inform you of the death of Jock Thomson QC today. Jock was one of life's good guys and is going to be very sorely missed. 

He was one of the most highly principled, personable, forthright and open individuals I have ever had the honour of encountering. It is with the greatest personal regret that my first meeting with him did not take place until October of last year, not long after he had become a JFM Committee member. He was a shining example of someone who fearlessly applied the value of his considerable and varied experience to make the world a better place. His employment ranged through life as a merchant seaman, a police officer, a fiscal's depute and latterly as a defence advocate. It is Scotland's immeasurable loss that someone of his balanced and wise perspective was not invited to take over the pilot's seat at the Crown Office.

Jock needed no encouragement to join our campaign, he leapt in straight away at the sharp end. He was far from backwards at coming forwards in his criticism of the Crown Office at our October press conference last year. He was also the kind of person who immediately put one at one's ease. His sense of humour and natural, amiable affability with new acquaintances was immediately in evidence as we travelled up in the lift together for the media briefing. On that occasion, he related the tale of the time he, as a representative of the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, was responsible for prosecuting another rather eminent member of our campaign: an individual whom Jock always held in the highest regard, I should add. Apparently, the accused had turned up somewhat late for the court hearing. When, eventually, the aforementioned accused did finally emerge, he apologiised for inconveniencing the court but had been delayed due to his having crashed his plane on the way to the proceedings! Jock's emails to other members in our circle were often sprinkled with humorous references to and terminology from opera too: one of his great passions.

On behalf of all at JFM, I extend the deepest and most sincere of condolences to Christina, Jock's most beloved wife, soprano and Creative Director at Edinburgh Grand Opera, and one of our rank. 

Jock was the Lord Advocate that Scotland so dearly needs but sadly will never have. 

[A moving obituary by Steven Raeburn has been published on the website of Scottish lawyers' magazine The Firm.]

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