Obituary: Martin Macari devoted family man excelled in professional life as well as in the sporting arena

Martin Macari, Advocate Depute. Born: 8 July, 1969 in Edinburgh. Died: 17 February, 2017 in Edinburgh, aged 47

Martin Macari
Martin Macari

Martin Macari was a fantastically charismatic, warm and thoughtful individual who had a zest for life which touched all those who knew him. He felt almost anything was possible if you were willing to put the effort in, believing firmly in the importance of giving back to the community, something he did throughout his adult life.

He was devoted family man who cherished the time he had with wife Lucy and their children Charlotte and Max.

His infectious enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge come to the fore both professionally, first as a policeman and then as a lawyer, and in his love of sport. He had a wide range of other interests including military history, animal conservation, writing, public speaking and debating.

He joined the legal profession relatively late but flourished at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Edinburgh.

He was appointed an Advocate Depute in November 2010 and served until 2015.

Martin had originally studied engineering before eventually joining Lothian and Borders Police. But he found his true vocation when he returned to university to study law in 1999.

After completing his degree and diploma at Edinburgh University he did his traineeship with Simpson & Marwick before joining the COPFS as a Procurator Fiscal Depute in Edinburgh in 2004. His talent was evident at an early stage and he was promoted to the post of Senior Procurator Fiscal Depute in April 2008.

In what represented an outstanding rise through the ranks, Martin was appointed an Advocate Depute by the then Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland QC in 2010.

The qualities of an Advocate Depute are to have excellent advocacy and legal skills, but in addition to have integrity, be impartial, have sound judgment and good interpersonal skills. Martin served for five years as an Advocate Depute. In that time he demonstrated that he possessed these qualities in abundance.

In other aspects of his life Martin was known as a fine team player and his standing amongst his colleagues in Crown Office was no different. He was renowned for his sense of humour and was a highly popular figure. His wit and loyal friendship will be missed by all.

As his sister Angela said at the funeral, Martin was very much at the top of his game professionally when illness struck in the summer of 2015.

The cancer diagnosis came as a shock to all and was particularly cruel for a teetotal, non-smoking, fitness fanatic. But Martin betrayed not one trace of bitterness and battled with exceptional courage for 20 months, displaying fortitude and humour in the face of awful circumstances.

Shortly before his death he wrote movingly of the good life he had enjoyed, the idyllic family upbringing and the life-changing moment when he met his Lucy. He spoke of their wonderful time together and the joy Charlotte and Max brought them.

Martin had had a tough start in life: he was born with a severe club foot and his parents, Ricardo and Catherine, were told by a doctor “he would run but he would never win the race”.

His mum and dad refused to accept this and Catherine encouraged Martin to exercise his foot, building up the muscles to such an extent he was eventually able to overcome the problems.

They were the first signs of his determination and courage, qualities that Martin would demonstrate throughout his life.

He had a prodigious appetite for sport and played rugby, cricket, football and squash to a high level, showing a competitive edge that made a mockery of the doctors’ initial diagnosis of his foot.

His love of sport was inherited from his father, Ricardo, who had been a talented centre with Edinburgh Wanderers and also a fine tennis player who had played at Junior Wimbledon.

Martin’s first sporting love was rugby and he played more than 200 games for Watsonians’ four teams between 1987 and 2007. He was a successful club captain and driving force behind the club for many years, and while never a first-team regular, his enthusiasm and dedication were absolute. He was made an honorary vice president of the club in late 2016.

On one occasion he was leaving the pitch after playing for the second XV in a defeat by Heriot’s when the call came that the firsts were a man short. Martin was selected and lined up in a team that included the then Scotland captain Rob Wainwright. Alas, this result also went against him and Martin was able to reflect drily that he was possibly the first Watsonians player to lose twice to Heriot’s in one day.

As he moved into his late thirties, Martin switched to touch rugby and found a new lease of life in the sport. He excelled, winning 65 age-group caps for Scotland, captaining several senior sides, and immersing himself in the coaching and leadership side of the sport, rising to the role of national squad director.

If rugby was his passion, cricket was not too far behind and Martin had than a decade’s service with the Watsonians first XI, featuring in 156 games as batsman and wicket-keeper. He was also a loyal member of Watsonian squash club for many years.

Martin was educated at George Watson’s College where he impressed academically and on the sports field. He threw himself into every aspect of school life, from drama to the school magazine and playing for the first team at rugby cricket, badminton and squash.

After leaving school he went on to Aberdeen University to study engineering and embraced student life wholeheartedly. He worked on the university newspaper, The Gaudie, with a stint as sports editor, and played football for the first XI.

He graduated with a 2:1 in 1991 but opted not to pursue a career in engineering.

In 1992 Martin joined the police and served as a PC for seven years based in Dalkeith and Penicuik and then the Fettes HQ. He received a meritorious award from Lothian and Borders Police for his courageous actions when assisting in the rescue of the occupants of a burning house in 1995. He was also a member of the firearms unit and won the police fitness prize in 1993 and 1994.

His enthusiasm, wit and caring nature will be greatly missed by all those fortunate enough to have known him. The huge turnout at his funeral last Tuesday at St.Peter’s RC Church in Morningside was testament to the esteem in which he was held.

He is survived by his wife Lucy, their two children, Charlotte and Max, his parents Ricardo and Catherine, and sisters Angela and Caroline.