Friday, December 16, 2005


Scotland's reputation for casual, drink-fuelled violence was once again underlined last night when official figures showed that the homicide rate for 2004-05 was the highest in almost a decade. There were 137 victims of homicides - including murders and culpable homicides but excluding death by dangerous driving - in Scotland, 29 more than in 2003-04 and the highest annual total since 1995-96.

In almost three-quarters of the cases, the main accused was known to the victim. As in previous years, a knife or other sharp instrument was the commonest weapon used, accounting for 72 victims, again the highest figure for 10 years. In the 127 cases where the physical and mental state of the alleged killer was known, 45 per cent were drunk, 15 per cent were both drunk and on drugs, and 10 per cent were on drugs.

The figures show that Glasgow remains the murder capital of Scotland, with 55 victims per million of population compared with 22 for the whole of Scotland.....

Nearly half of the homicides took place at the weekend where the victim and the accused were both male, aged between 16 and 49, and where the main motive was a fight or quarrel. More than 50 per cent of those accused were acquaintances of the victims and nearly 20 per cent were a partner or relative....

Kenny MacAskill, the SNP's Shadow Justice Minister, said that what was staggering was that Glasgow's homicide rate was higher than Belfast's and more than double the Scotland-wide rate. "The underlying causes of crime need targeted, but there must be no mercy shown to those who use guns, knives or other weapons randomly or indiscriminately," he said.

In September, a controversial report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) claimed that Scotland had the second highest murder rate in Western Europe. According to the study, Scots were more than three times as likely to be killed as people living in England and Wales and 1� times more likely than people in Northern Ireland. Only Finland had a worse murder rate, the report claimed. Another study, this time from the United Nations, said that Scotland was the most violent country in the developed world. It stated that more than 2,000 Scots were attacked every week, almost ten times the official figure, and that Scots were three times more likely to be the victims of violent assault than Americans. That report was criticised by police over its methodology.

The WHO study showed that the murder rate north of the border was 2.33 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 0.7 in England and Wales, 1.02 in Spain and 0.96 in Italy. France and Norway made it into the top three safest places with murder rates of 0.85 and 0.73. Germany had the lowest murder rate on record, of 0.68.

More here

Canada: Martin a 'jackass': "Prime Minister Paul Martin is a "jackass" if he thinks that banning handguns will "choke off" the deadly weaponry of Toronto street gangs, says a man whose son was slain. "For this so-called prime minister of ours to come into the low-income areas of this city and make a statement banning guns ... I look at him as a jackass ... and I'll never vote Liberal again as long as I live," said Theodore Huxtable, whose eldest son Jason, 18, was killed on Aug. 30.And Huxtable gave a stern warning that if justice is not served in his son's death, he will seek his own vengeance."I'll be part of your news ... I've told police the same thing ... they say 'Mr. Huxtable, you shouldn't make these statements' ... they can't say I didn't warn them," he said. "

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