Death of popular Kirkcaldy sheriff

Sheriff Brian Donald, popular figure on the Scottish legal landscape. Picture: Neil Hanna
Sheriff Brian Donald, popular figure on the Scottish legal landscape. Picture: Neil Hanna

A former Kirkcaldy sheriff who was heavily involved in setting up the pioneering Drug Court system at the town’s court has died.

Sheriff Brian Donald, who was 71, was appointed a permanent sheriff in Kirkcaldy in 1999 after working his way up through the court ranks in Edinburgh.

He presided over a wide range of cases where he gained a reputation of being “firm but fair.” However it was his work with the Drug Court, an initiative set up in 2002 to attempt to reduce drug misuse, that he became best known for.

Empathetic and a good listener, he proved particularly able at communicating positively with those appearing in the dock, and was very supportive of their efforts to deal with their problems.

On one occasion when he was told that an accused was in a court toilet suspected of an overdose, Mr Donald performed mouth to mouth resuscitation on him, described by friend and colleague Krysta Johnston as “a measure of the man.”

He retired in 2008, continuing as a part-time sheriff for a short time, while also becoming a member of the Parole Board Scotland.

An enthusiastic Francophile, his part-time work enabled him to split his time between his work in Scotland and his house in the small village of Vidauque in Provence.

He is survived by his partner Norbert Epain, his four brothers and their families.