Page last updated at 23:38 GMT, Wednesday, 25 June 2008 00:38 UK

Call for mandatory knife sentence

Damian Muir
Damian Muir was killed in an unprovoked knife attack

A petition calling for mandatory jail sentences for those caught carrying a knife is to be handed to a Holyrood committee on Thursday.

John Muir's son Damian was murdered in Greenock last July. Mr Muir is now backing calls for a change to the law.

Labour MSP for Inverclyde, Duncan McNeil, has lodged a motion calling for the implementation of a "Damian's law".

The motion calls on the Scottish Government to look at reform as "a matter of urgency".

Damian Muir, 34, was stabbed eight times on a Greenock street.

His attacker, Barry Gavin, had told police that he had no idea who his victim was but that he had been in the "wrong place at the wrong time".

Mr McNeil said the case had "raised some hard questions for the justice system".

He added: "No-one in a democracy wants political interference in the judicial process.

"But the courts must reflect the seriousness with which our community regards senseless, violent crime."

His motion says that knife-carriers need to be taught that their actions have consequences.

It calls on the Scottish Government to "examine the imposition of mandatory custodial sentences for unlawful possession of knives".

The petition will be presented to Frank McAveety, convener of petitions committee, at 1230 BST.

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