Tributes paid to Sheriff Richard Davidson

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Tributes have been paid to former Fort William Sheriff Richard Davidson who died suddenly aged 72.

Sheriff Davidson, a native of Oban, had a heart attack and passed away on Sunday July 19.

He served Fort William from February 2014 until retiring in May 2016. Before taking on that role he spent two decades in Dundee courtrooms as the city’s resident sheriff.

Sheriff Principal of Grampian, Highland and Islands Derek Pyle said: ‘Sheriff Davidson spent most of his judicial career in Dundee, but his first love was the Highlands and Islands and in particular Oban where he spent much of his childhood.

‘It was a great joy for him to finish his career as the sheriff of Fort William and Portree. He presided in both courts with great distinction and we were very fortunate to have a sheriff of such experience. His ready humour belied a keen legal brain and a man of compassion and judgement.’

And Honorary Sheriff for Fort William John Hutchison said: ‘Sheriff Davidson was convivial company and a well-grounded man who had not lost the common touch.  He was very encouraging and supportive to honorary sheriffs; indeed on first meeting he readily offered his mobile phone number and invited me to call for advice at any time.  My impression was that he had a strong sense of fairness in his dealings.’

Described as a colourful character, outspoken Sheriff Davidson courted controversy on more than one occasion.

Dealing with a female first offender at Fort William who appeared from custody  accused of shouting at her husband, he apologised for her spending a night in the cells and branded Scotland’s domestic abuse laws as ‘way over the top’.

A former litigation partner in leading Glasgow law firm Brechin, Tindal and Oatts, he was educated at Glasgow University.

In his retirement in Blairgowrie, Sheriff Davidson enjoyed time with his family and his hobbies which included golf and photography.

He leaves his wife Shirley and two children Andrew and Cara.