Tributes from across the legal profession, and beyond, have been paid to Derek Ogg QC, who was found dead in his Glasgow home on Friday evening after what is believed to have been a tragic accident. There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.
Mr Ogg (65) practised as a solicitor before being admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1989. He took silk in 1999. He was known as a skilled criminal defence counsel, but was equally well known as a campaigner for gay rights. Solicitor advocate Neil Hay pointed out on Twitter that "Unusually, in light of his great ability, he was regularly instructed to defend murder cases when only junior counsel."
During service in Crown Office, he was appointed Assistant Principal Advocate Depute and first head of the National Sexual Crimes Unit.
Extending the Faculty of Advocates' condolences to Mr Ogg's friends and family, Dean of Faculty Gordon Jackson QC 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."
Also expressing condolences, John Mulholland, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "The news of Derek’s death will be felt hard by all who knew him. He fought for justice for clients and for equality and inclusion in the legal profession. He will be sadly missed."
Solicitor Aamer Anwar described him on Twitter as "a beautiful man of deep intellect, humility and humour, never forgot his kindness in dark times. A giant who made a lasting contribution to our justice system and stood up for gay rights when it would’ve been easier for him to stay quiet".
JUSTICE, of which Mr Ogg was Scottish chair in 2016-17, tweeted that it was "desperately sad" at his passing, adding: "Derek was a committed champion of human rights and access to justice for all."
In its tribute the Equality Network noted that Mr Ogg's activism dated back to the early 1970s, and he was co-organiser of the first International Gay RIghts Conference in 1974, when male homosexual activity was still a criminal offence in Scotland.
It added: "As a lawyer, Derek was very much involved in [the then Scottish Minorities Group's] legal campaigning, including against employment discrimination, and to decriminalise sex between men...
"In the 1980s, much of Derek’s activism was focused on AIDS/HIV. In 1983 he founded Scottish Aids Monitor, Scotland’s first and at the time only Aids charity, and he was also much involved in the establishment of Milestone Hospice and Waverley Care.
"While pursuing his highly successful career as an advocate, Derek continued to work for equality, and was an invaluable adviser to the Equality Network, advising on equalising the age of consent and removing other discrimination from the law, to move us close to full legal equality.
"In 2015 we were delighted to present Derek with a special award for Lifetime Achievement at the Scottish LGBTI Awards, where he received the award to a standing ovation."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added her own tribute, tweeting: "This is dreadful news. Derek was a brilliant advocate and a truly lovely man. He will be deeply missed by so many in his profession and beyond."