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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
'Carmont' knife sentencing call
By Duncan Kirkhope
BBC Scotland

Lord Carmont (Picture courtesy of Newsquest Glasgow)
Lord Carmont (Picture courtesy of Newsquest Glasgow)
A former leader of Glasgow City Council has called for a "Carmont" style message to be sent to knife offenders.

Glasgow MSP Charlie Gordon wants sheriffs to follow the example of Lord Carmont, a city judge in the 1950s, who handed down exemplary sentences.

He is credited with doing much to deter the razor gangs of the time.

Mr Gordon wants sheriffs to use tougher powers that will double sentences to four years from later this year. He said: "Sentencing does matter."

"Sheriffs have to be given a chance to make effective use of the stiffer sentences available to them - to send out a Carmont-style message to knife offenders," he added.

His call comes during a nationwide knife amnesty.

'Copping a Carmont'

Lord John Carmont handed down long sentences for knife crime in the 1950s.

His obituary in The Herald noted in one series of court sittings in Glasgow he passed sentences of up to 10 years - and in total 52 years - on eight men.

Glasgow 1955 (Picture courtesy of the Mitchell Library)
Glasgow 1955 (Picture courtesy of the Mitchell Library)

To Glasgow knife carriers, going down for a long stretch became known as "copping a Carmont".

Lord Carmont, in May 1954, told the High Court of Justiciary in Glasgow he thought the city's record of crimes of violence was improving.

Mr Gordon said today's challenge is a bigger one than the 50s razor gangs.

He said: "I am sad to say today's knife culture may be more widespread and deep-seated than we have had in modern times.

"It's very complex and requires a range of responses.

"I think we may have to jail those even possessing knives on our streets automatically, as we do with those possessing guns."

Mr Gordon had called on MSPs to back an amendment to the Police Bill which would have meant anyone convicted of carrying a concealed blade would be imprisoned.

But he withdrew the motion after opposition from colleagues.

The Police Bill will double sentences from two to four years.

It is awaiting Royal Assent and is expected to be introduced in September.

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