Glasgow & West Scotland

Gangland hit man William Gage in jail smoking challenge

William Gage Image copyright Not Specified

A man who is serving a life term for a gangland murder has taken the Scottish government to court over fears he may develop cancer from passive smoking.

William Gage, 43, was convicted of shooting 30-year-old Justin McAlroy six times outside his home in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, in March 2002.

He was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

Gage now wants judges to rule it is unlawful to detain him in conditions where he is exposed to tobacco smoke.

Smoking in public places such as pubs and shopping centres has been banned since 2005 but prison cells were deemed as private residences, making them exempt.

A hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh was told that Gage had made repeated complaints within Shotts jail, where he has been held since 2004, about being left vulnerable to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) inside the prison.

Cancer fears

Gage's father was a smoker who died from lung cancer and he worries that he may develop cancer through passive smoking.

His counsel, Christopher Pirie, told a judge that Gage wanted to be held in one of Scotland's prisons which had smoke-free areas.

The Scottish government is contesting the action and the court was told that Gage was housed in a relatively modern prison with ventilation systems.

Support was also offered to prisoners who wanted to stop smoking.

Image copyright Scottish Prison Service
Image caption Gage is being held at Shotts Prison

Lord Armstrong will give a decision in the judicial review case at a later date.

Following his conviction, Gage spent years maintaining he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice.

His case was later referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which looks into alleged miscarriages of justice.

It was rejected, however, by a panel of five judges in 2012.

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