Scotland

Tributes paid to leading Scottish lawyer Paul McBride QC

The trial of two men accused of sending parcel bombs to a leading Scottish lawyer has been postponed as a "mark of respect" after the QC's death.

Paul McBride QC died suddenly while on a trip to Pakistan.

He was found dead in his hotel room in Lahore on Sunday after complaining of feeling unwell the previous evening.

Lord Turnbull said the trial would not resume until Tuesday and described Mr McBride as a "friend and colleague to all of us in this courtroom".

Neil McKenzie and Trevor Muirhead deny sending parcels to Mr McBride, Celtic manager Neil Lennon, former MSP Trish Godman and a Glasgow-based republican organisation.

Mr McBride was found dead by fellow Scottish lawyer Aamer Anwar. Officials in Pakistan have suggested he may have had a heart condition.

Police in Lahore said a post-mortem examination of Mr McBride's body will be held later.

Human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar was in Pakistan with the QC and told BBC Scotland he persuaded security staff at the Pearl Continental hotel to break open the door of Mr McBride's room after becoming concerned when he failed to answer his phone.

The 47-year-old was called to the Scottish Bar in 1988, and became the youngest QC in the country at the age of 35. He had been involved in some of the country's highest-profile criminal cases.

Lawyer Derek Ogg QC said he had not been aware of his close friend and colleague suffering from any health problems.

Mr Ogg told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "I broke the news to a number of close friends and I've never seen so many tough guys, so many hard lawyers, break down in tears. It was just totally shocking, someone we genuinely loved.

"Paul was a very fit guy, he didn't smoke, he didn't do anything that was bad for your health, he was trim and fit. He would moan about the odd ache and pain like the rest of us but he had no underlying health issues.

"Paul was at the top already by the age he died. I don't think he would have fitted into any of the boxes of being a High Court judge or being a government minister or something like that, although he would have been fit to do any of these things."

Mr Ogg said Mr McBride could be a ruthless and brilliant operator in court, but was also "fantastic" at helping ordinary people out.

He added: "He was so much his own man, and so much a person who would speak his own mind. As all the journalists I've talked to know, Paul would go off the script and give a straight and honest answer whether or not that was what he was meant to or not. He would never have fitted in in politics.

"That was one of the most endearing things about him, and one of the most infuriating things to a lot of people who wanted to have him stick to the line."

Cameron Ritchie, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "We are very shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Paul McBride.

"Paul was one of the best known figures in Scotland's legal profession and was greatly admired by many. Our thoughts are very much with his family and friends at this time."

Mr McBride was a board member of the Scottish Legal Aid Board.

'Outstanding advocate'

Chairman of the board, Iain Robertson, and chief executive, Lindsay Montgomery, said: "He was a greatly valued member of the board and made a huge contribution to our work and to the justice system.

"His intellect, generosity and kindness to those he met will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies and thoughts go to his partner, family and friends."

As well as being a high-profile supporter of Celtic, Mr McBride also represented the football club on disciplinary matters.

Lord Reid, a former Celtic chairman, said: "He was a great colleague and friend and will be sadly missed well beyond his own family. My thoughts are with them.

"We exchanged texts only a couple of days ago."

Mr McBride is a former member of Labour and the Scottish Conservatives.

He left the Scottish Conservatives last June after Ruth Davidson was elected to lead the party north of the border.

First Minister Alex Salmond led the political tributes, describing Mr McBride as "an outstanding Advocate, and a very substantial public figure in Scotland".

Johann Lamont, leader of Scottish Labour, said: "Paul McBride was one of the finest legal minds of his generation. While we didn't always agree, I always thought of him as a thoroughly decent man. He will be missed."

Conservative MSP, Jackson Carlaw, said: "Paul McBride was a personal friend and I am shocked at this news which all of those who knew him will find difficult to take in.

"Paul was an outstanding legal talent and a hugely colourful personality with a razor sharp mind."

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats said: "Cutting short Paul McBride's full and colourful life is so sad. Scotland will be a lesser place without him."

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