SCOTLAND’S knife crackdown has been branded a sham after a teenager caught with a blade at a school fight received just 100 hours’ community service.
A shocking video of the vicious fight at Turriff Academy, Aberdeenshire, clearly showed the handle of the knife sticking out of the boy’s trousers.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in possession of the blade just 25 miles away from where schoolboy Bailey Gwynne, was stabbed to death.
But the culprit walked away with community service and a supervision order from Banff Sheriff Court this week despite the law allowing a prison sentence of up to a year.
The Scottish Tories said the sentence showed the SNP government had once again failed to live up to its pledge to get tough on crime.
The Turriff incident happened in April 2015 but only came to light in April this year when a 30-second video of the fight emerged online.
Two teenagers can be seen punching and wrestling each other. One of the boy’s tops is pulled up, exposing the long dark handles of a knife tucked into his waistband. Youngsters can be heard warning: “He’s got a knife!”
Police arrested the boy with the knife who was later convicted of assault and knife crime charges
The teenager appeared at Banff Sheriff Court again this week for sentencing.
A spokesman at the court confirmed that a Community Payback Order had been imposed, involving a supervision requirement of six months and 100 hours’ unpaid work to be completed within 6 months.
While a sheriff sitting without a jury can impose a year’s jail for carrying a knife, even longer jail terms are possible.
In 2012 the SNP boasted that they were “cracking down” on knife crime by increasing the maximum penalty for carry a knife to five years – if the offender is found guilty in front of a jury.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross said: “The SNP keeps saying it’s tough on crime, but example after example shows otherwise.
“The Scottish Government is meant to be serious about knife crime, but the sentencing guidelines it has in place seem to be almost never used.
“If weak sentences are repeatedly given out for knife crime, there will be no chance of deterrence, and that will reduce the chances of eliminating these weapons from our streets.”
The Turriff fight video reveals the shock onlookers feel when it becomes obvious one of the boys has a knife. One exclaims: “He’s got a f****** knife” and another says: “Oh s***.”
At that point, the boys themselves appear to lose their will to fight and back off.
Bailey Gwynne was stabbed to death about six months later after a fight about a biscuit at Cults Academy, Aberdeen, on 28 October 2015.
Witnesses told of how a Bailey had his killer in a headlock, before he was stabbed in the chest.
The knife which killed him was later found in a bin at the school.
A 16 year-old boy was found guilty of culpable homicide at the High Court in Aberdeen in March this year.
The teen was sentence to nine years for the crime.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Through our tough enforcement and education we have seen crimes of handling offensive weapons drop dramatically to a 31-year low, and a rise in the average length of prison sentences for knife possession by 240% over the last decade.
“We have recently increased maximum prison sentences for knife possession to five years to ensure courts have the powers they need to sentence appropriately.”