He led one of only two successful private prosecutions in the 20th century and was the foremost criminal lawyer of his day.

In a glittering career, Ross Harper was also a major figure in politics and business.

He had co-founded the legendary Glasgow legal firm of Ross Harper & Murphy in 1961 and at its peak had more than 20 offices across Scotland until it closed its doors in 2012.

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At various points in his career, Harper was also Chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, President of the Law Society of Scotland and the International Bar Association and Professor of Law at Strathclyde University.

His firm became well-known for adverts which portrayed supposed clients getting caught up in unfortunate scenarios.

It ended with a voiceover telling them: "You'd better call Ross Harper."

Harper was also a key figure in two of Scotland's most high-profile trials of the 1970s - the Rotary Tools scandal and the Albany Drugs Case.

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However his career-defining moment was representing a gang rape victim in the landmark Carol X case in 1982.

READ MORE:  Carol X fought for justice after being brutally raped

The decision not to prosecute became a major political scandal and prompted the resignation of the then solicitor general Sir Nicholas Fairbairn The woman who became known as Carol X was walking home in Barrowfield in Glasgow's East End on October, 1980.

She was confronted by three thugs who dragged her into a disused metal storage container on nearby wasteground.

Carol, 31, was repeatedly raped and then slashed with a razor leaving her needing more than 150 stitches.

There was a wealth of evidence against the rapists.

A fourth youth who was with them that evening agreed to give evidence in return for immunity from prosecution.

The Crown Office however caused public outrage and a media frenzy by dropping the case and the charges.

Senior prosecutors had become concerned at Carol’s mental fragility in the lead up to the trial in May 1981.

There were said to be misgivings about her reliability as a witness because of her alcoholism and accusations she was a prostitute.

As a result, the Crown Office decided not to go ahead with the trial.

But the mother-of-three fought for justice and got it less than a year later through a groundbreaking private prosecution.

It was one of only two to succeed in Scotland in the 20th century. The other involved a fraud case in 1909.

It led to Joseph Sweeney, then 18, and his two 16-year-old accomplices being put on trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1982.

Sweeney got 12 years for rape and assault, while the two other accused, one his brother, were convicted of indecent assault. : Carol also received £25,000 compensation after her court victory but her drinking as said to have taken every penny.

And when she died in 2003, she was still on the streets - even though the council had given her a home. Carol X led to a sea change in the way rape cases were treated in the Scottish courts.

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Harper featured the case in his 2016 biography, Beyond Reasonable Doubt. He wrote: “Every lawyer wants to make legal history. Carol had insisted on me representing her. But my main concern was if she was fit enough to give evidence.

"I met her and she had been through this trauma. scarred, devastated and traumatised. But the one thing she wanted was that she didn’t want these guys to get away.

“I was worried she wouldn’t be able to stand up in court. I was anxious right up until the time she gave evidence.

“In the event she not only survived the ordeal of the court, but in spite of the severe emotions and vivid memories, survived well."

By 2016 Harper retired to Australia with his wife and family He added:"Carol could have got more money, in my view, but she took the first offer.

"It could have and should have changed her life. I never heard from her again."

READ MORE: Crafty cockney Maurice Cochrane and his Rotary Tools firm

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Another famous Harper case involving allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct in high places.

In the early 1970s Maurice Cochrane's Rotary Tools firm had signed a string of lucrative contracts with the state run National Coal Board, Scotts Shipbuilders in Greenock and the giant Chrysler car plant in Linwood, Renfrewshire.

Rotary Tools clients entertained at the Excelsior Hotel at Glasgow Airport were not just wined and dined.

They were also provided with the sexual services of young women, shown blue movies, and offered bribes.

In 1973 Cochrane, who also liked to be known as Big Jim, hosted the biggest party ever seen in Glasgow.

More than 4000 guests enjoyed a night of entertainment and booze said to have cost Cochrane £47,000 - £500,000 in todays money.

The legendary jazz jusician Dizzy Gillespie had even been flown in from the USA to entertain the guests.

The party at Rotary's new city-centre HQ in Brown Street in Glasgow went on until 5am with people still queuing at 2am to get in.

There were hostesses on call to entertain the mainly male guests as well as strippers and other exotic dancers. More than 4000 bottles of spirits had been bought for the thirsty party goers.

However Cochrane's Rotary Tools empire came crashing down three years later when the Londoner was charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act with fraud and providing women for sex in return for favours.

The five week trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court engrossed the city with tales of debauchery, bribery and Cochrane's bizarre eccentricity.

One woman Anna Grunt told of being paid up to £35 (around £250 in today's money) to have sex with Rotary Tools clients at the Excelsior.

During the five-week trial, his lawyer Ross Harper insisted his client wasn't corrupt but the victim of extortion by clients who wouldn't give out the lucrative contracts without sweeteners.

Mr Harper famously told the court: "One man's meat is another man's Anna Grunt"

Cochrane was eventually convicted of eight charges of fraud and given a 12-month jail sentence.

In 1976 Glasgow's Albany Hotel in Bothwell Street was one of the most luxurious and modern in Europe.

However that year it was at the centre of a controversy involving senior detectives in Strathclyde Police and organised crime figures Two men Matthew McHugh, 34, and Terence Goodship, 37, had been caught with around £6,000 of cannabis in a room on the fourth floor.

Ross Harper - who represented both accused - claimed they had been set up by a petty criminal David Cussins working with Detective Chief Inspector Les Brown of Strathclyde Police.

He accused them of having both ordered the drugs so that they could then arrest the couriers.

Cussins had tipped off Brown that a large amount of cannabis was being delivered in early November 1976, to Glasgow.

After McHugh and Goodship arrived at the hotel it was seized by detectives and the pair arrested.

Harper claimed that Cussins had been used as fixer by Brown and the drugs had effectively been planted on the two men.

The subsequent trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in September 1977 was a media sensation.

In a sensational move, Harper lodged a special defence of incrimination on behalf of McHugh, claiming Brown and Cussins were behind the deal.

The man who had been head of Strathclyde Police Drugs Squad Jack Beattie at the time was even called as a defence witness by Harper.

He told the jury that he didn't believe that London based drugs gang were organising shipments to Glasgow and such an amount was more likely to involve local criminals acting on their own.

Harper's strategy had been to show that everyone on the prosecution side was lying about their role in the drugs sting including Brown.

After three hours the jury found Goodship not proven.

However McHugh was found unanimously guilty and given six years in prison.

However it is for the Carol X case that Harper will always be remembered.

It later prompted the families of six victims of the Glasgow bin lorry crash to attempt their own private prosecution against driver Harry Clarke in 2016.

The Crown Office had decided not to charge Clarke over the deaths claiming there was insufficient evidence that he had broken the law when he lost control of his vehicle in Queen Street in December 2014.

At the time Ross Harper supported efforts by the victims to have Clarke prosecuted.

In one interview he said: "It's important that justice is transparent. I think scrutiny is absolutely right and is the lifeblood of democracy.

"Nobody should be above the law, including those who promote it."