Scotsman Obituaries: Jim Graham, procurator fiscal dedicated to social justice

Jim Graham, procurator fiscal. Born: 30 November 1944. Died: 5 September 2022, aged 77

Jim Graham was born in the Glasgow area, shortly before the end of the Second World War. He grew up with rationing, and an abiding love of Tunnock’s tea cakes.

After leaving school, Jim worked as a butcher’s delivery driver, then a steward on a cruise to Canada, and then a lumberjack. He therefore understood a great deal about hard work and low-paid employment, before he came to study law.

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Jim studied law at Edinburgh University in the early 1970s. He was a keen member of Edinburgh University Dramatic Society and The Traverse Theatre Club – perhaps he learned some of his court skills from there, because Jim could look down his nose in a way that chilled the blood.

Jim Graham was respected by colleagues across the criminal justice system
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But his love of social justice was genuine. Jim cared deeply for the victims of crime, and also for those forced into crime by poverty. He welcomed the diversion scheme for this reason.

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Jim was a gifted prosecutor, hard-working and dedicated, and well-respected by colleagues across the criminal justice system. He was a trusted, kind and supportive colleague, and spent a great deal of his career leading teams and coaching and mentoring young prosecutors and prosecution staff, always giving of his time freely.

After he retired from a full-time role, he remained committed to the prosecution service, returning for a number of years to assist with the training of new staff. He also continued to prosecute complex cases and conduct difficult Fatal Accident Inquiries.

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Jim only retired completely when his hearing had deteriorated to such an extent that he feared he might tell a sheriff to “stop mumbling”. When his court duties stopped, Jim continued his interest in social justice and politics, though he often found the two incompatible.

In his spare time Jim was a great hunting, shooting and fishing man. In hunting he loved the successful prosecution of hare coursers. He shot innumerable clay pigeons. His trophies in fishing over the last 15 years included one delicious sea trout and many sightings of herons and kingfishers.

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Following his retirement, Jim acquired a German shepherd, Addie, who was his constant companion until his death in May 2021. He was succeeded by a very enthusiastic puppy, Molly. Jim was a popular member of The Forth Sports Dog Club, who planned to provide an honour guard for his funeral.

Jim was one of these rare beings who could chat to everybody and, even more importantly, listen. In all his working life he missed only two days, and put in hours of unpaid overtime.

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Jim died suddenly but peacefully due to cardiac arrhythmia. He is survived by his much-loved daughter Dr Lindsay Graham, his partner Jane Webster and countless others whose lives he touched with his kindness, compassion and humour.

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