Paul McBride: Always willing to give journalists a helping hand

By Hamish Mackay

March 6, 2012 | 2 min read

The Scotsman’s law correspondent, John Robertson, paying tribute to Scottish QC, Paul McBride, has said: “Many a journalist had reason to thank their lucky stars for having McBride’s number in their contacts list.”

Explained Robertson: “He was always prepared to offer some reasoned and sensible comment, given with great clarity and the assuredness born of knowing his subjects.

“In recent years, Paul McBride had become far better known for his out-of-court persona than as a lawyer, which is a great pity because he was among the elite of the Scottish legal world.

“Dabbling in politics and being closely involved in one half of the Old Firm, McBride was rarely out of the headlines, but it’s just as true that he was rarely out of court.

“McBride was an outstanding performer, whether before a jury or a bench of appeal judges, and, most importantly, he commanded respect among his peers and the judiciary. It had been said that, latterly, he displayed a touch of arrogance, but it was all part of his act and his banter.

“And he loved to banter with people. Yes, he could dish it out, but he could take it in return and it was never, never malicious.”

McBride was assiduously quoted and courted by the Scottish media, and in an obituary in The Scotsman, journalist and broadcaster, David Torrance, points out that McBride’s work was usual conducted under the glare of the media spotlight.

“McBride’s nervous energy inevitably found other outlets, his love of the media producing an unusually high public profile for a criminal advocate (he was a regular pundit on STV’s Politics Now).”

Television broadcaster, Bernard Ponsonby, who studied at the University of Strathclyde with the QC, said he “was a character of contrasts, the contrast between his aggressive courtroom manner and his very quiet demeanour as a student; the contrast between everything he did in the public eye and the fact he was an intensely private person.”

McBride made his debut as a newspaper columnist in the launch of the Sunday edition of The Scottish Sun nine days ago.


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