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‘Fearless’ Scots lawyer who worked to decriminalise sex between men found dead in his home

Emma Powys Maurice May 3, 2020
Derek Ogg

Tributes are pouring in for Derek Ogg, who passed away on Friday evening (Twitter/@@LGBTIScotland)

A leading lawyer and civil rights activist who fought for LGBT+ rights in the UK has sadly died after what is believed to be a tragic accident at home.

65-year-old Derek Ogg QC was found dead at his home in Langside, Glasgow on the evening of May 1. There are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

The legal titan was a pioneer for gay rights in Scotland from the 1970s onwards, campaigning for the decriminalisation of sex between men and to remove discrimination from the law.

In the 1980s he co-founded the country’s first AIDS charity, the Scottish Aids Monitor group, which helped to spread information about the virus.

In the final years of his life Ogg was a driving force behind the introduction of automatic pardons for gay and bisexual men convicted of sexual offences that are no longer illegal in Scotland.

In 2015, the Equality Network charity presented him with a Lifetime Achievement award in honour of his contributions.

His colleagues have described him as “a fearless trial advocate, both as a prosecutor and as defence counsel.”

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes to Ogg, tweeting on Saturday: “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.

“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.”

Gordon Jackson QC, dean of the 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.”

Fellow QC Tony Graham, who worked alongside Ogg, 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.”

More: decriminalisation of homosexuality, Derek Ogg, LGBT lawyers, Scotland

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