Death of Sheriff Kermack, aged 78

RETIRED Sheriff Stuart Ogilvy Kermack, who was well known in the legal profession throughout Angus, has died in Edinburgh at the age of 78.

Sheriff Kermack, who lived with his family in Little Causeway, spent two decades in Angus courts during his career.

Born in Edinburgh, the youngest of three children, his family moved to Glasgow when he was two and he spent a happy childhood growing up in the city’s Westbourne Gardens.

Mr Kermack was taught at Glasgow Academy and studied jurisprudence at Jesus College, Oxford, followed by an LLB at Glasgow.

He was called to the bar in 1958 and appointed a sheriff in Moray and Nairn in 1964.

He then moved to the bench in Angus and Perth in 1974. His judicial approach in courts, including Forfar and Arbroath, reflected a philosophy of rehabilitation rather than retribution and he was an active supporter of the Howard League for Penal Reform, the establishment of the children’s hearing systems, SACRO, Family Conciliation and alcohol education. He retired in 1993.

An enthusiastic skier, he continued to pursue the hobby until he was 50.

It was also on a ski club outing that he met his future wife, Barbara, the couple celebrating their golden wedding last year.

With wide-ranging literary tastes he also possessed an interest in Scottish history including Pictish heritage.

Mr Kermack was also a pivotal figure in the celebrations to mark the 1300th anniversary of the Battle of Dunnichen and was an enthusiastic member of the Pictish Arts Society.

As a writer he had a number of works published, including a pamphlet describing and justifying his own interpretation of the meaning of the Pictish symbols, reflecting years of research and analysis.

A keen poet his published works included ‘Sonnets for my Son’, which he wrote following the family’s tragic loss to illness of son Gavin in 1995, at the age of just 25.

Mr Kermack is survived by his wife, Barbara, daughter, Janet, and sons, Calum and Lewis. The couple moved to Edinburgh in 1994 following his retiral.

The Dean of the Faculty in Angus, Brechin solicitor Steve Middleton, paid tribute to the popular and highly-regarded former sheriff.

He said the legal fraternity in Angus had been saddened by his sudden death.

He added: “On a personal level, when I cut my teeth in the courts of Angus in the 1980s, I found him to be a delightful and always very fair sheriff. Throughout his time he was well liked and respected by the local bar”

Mr Kermack’s funeral took place at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh on Saturday.