'Obsessed' teen defended for carrying machete is a hopeless knife crime message

Last week a heartbroken mother stood outside Birmingham Crown Court decrying the senseless loss of her 'beautiful boy' to the city's knife crime epidemic. She called for tougher punishments for those who carry blades and branded those who choose to as 'weak, pathetic cowards'.

But then less than 48 hours later at the same court, in a completely separate case, a teenager 'obsessed' with machetes was handed a sentence of little over two years, of which he will serve half in detention before being released. Perhaps more concerning was that it was claimed the courts will never 'be able to stop young men' carrying knives.

The culprit in this case was actually defended - albeit by his barrister - for arming himself as it was argued he could have been killed otherwise. That in a nutshell, is Birmingham's dilemma with knives in another week where there has been an explosion of stabbings and a schoolboy killed.

READ MORE: Story behind killer Remy Gordon - addicted to PlayStation and whose deadly ego caused world of pain

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The first case I referred to was of course the murder of 23-year-old semi-professional footballer Cody Fisher who was stabbed to death at The Crane nightclub in Digbeth on Boxing Day, 2022. He was targeted by Remy Gordon, of the same age, who became hell-bent on retribution after squaring up with the victim at a club two nights earlier over an supposed nudge in the back.

Ultimately it was his friend Kami Carpenter, 22, who stabbed Mr Fisher on the dancefloor. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to life with minimum terms of 26 years for Gordon and 25 for Carpenter last Monday, April 9.

Cody Fisher's parents Tracey Fisher (pink) and Chris Fisher (far right)
Cody Fisher's parents Tracey Fisher (pink) and Chris Fisher (far right) -Credit:Anita Maric / SWNS

Outside court Cody's mum Tracer Fisher told the gathered press: "Sentencing day is finally upon us after a long and harrowing road to get some sort of justice for Cody. We always knew in our broken hearts, without any doubt, that our beautiful boy had lost his life due to knife crime, for no reason at all.

"The sentence passed is somewhat a blessing that they are no longer on our streets and hopefully goes some way to try and eradicate this awful epidemic that is ruining so many lives."

Fielding questions afterwards she branded her son's killers' sentences as 'shocking' and said they would 'absolutely not' deter young men from carrying knives. Ms Fisher called for 'tougher sentences' for those that go out armed with bladed weapons adding that her message to anyone who does was: "You're weak. Pathetic cowards. That's what I would say. And they will ruin so many lives."

But then on Wednesday 18-year-old Oliwier Gabis found himself in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court along with three other teenagers, in a separate case. The gang had been arrested after police pursued a car from Lozells, due to the occupants wearing balaclavas. A number of knives and a home-made shotgun called a 'Slam Gun' were recovered. Gabis was cleared of possessing the latter but found guilty of possessing knives.

Oliwier Gabis
Oliwier Gabis -Credit:West Midlands Police

The teenager had also been involved in two separate incidents In Handsworth. When confronted by a man standing in his doorway he pulled out a machete and warned 'don't make me sheft you', which is street lingo for 'stab'.

In another incident, he retrieved a machete from his backpack and handed it to his friend when they were attacked at a shop by a man, who was himself armed with a large blade. A 'sword fight' ensued while Gabis threw groceries, including a tin of beans, at the assailant attacking his friend.

The court heard Gabis had previous convictions for carrying knives. His barrister Simon Burch described him as an 'intelligent and capable young man' who had suffered psychologically from one of his friends being shot to death and another taking their own life.

Oliwier Gabis (Top left), aged 18, was involved in disorder at a Handsworth shop on January 10 this year when two other men had a 'sword fight'.
Oliwier Gabis (Top left), aged 18, was involved in disorder at a Handsworth shop on January 10 this year when two other men had a 'sword fight'. -Credit:West Midlands Police

He said: "This young man was faced with a stark choice. Balance the risk to his life of not being in possession of something used to defend himself, against the peril of being convicted of weapon offences. Had Mr Gabis not had that knife (during the shop incident) there was a very real risk he would have been seriously injured if not mortally, given the determined effort of that masked individual."

Mr Burch continued: "Sadly the courts aren't going to be able to stop young men carrying knives. If Mr Gabis wasn't armed that day, as unattractive as the point is, he may well have lost his life. It's as simple as that. He will be punished for that."

Judge Dean Kershaw disagreed and countered that it was a 'circular' argument. He stated Gabis had a reputation and was 'obsessed' with machete type weapons therefore anyone attacking him would likely feel the need to be armed themselves.

Judge Kershaw said: "It's the possession of it that creates the problem."

Gabis was ultimately sentenced to two years and one month detention for three counts of possessing a bladed article and an charge of threatening a person with a knife. Judge Kershaw continued: "Knife crime is a real problem as is carrying weapons such as Slam Guns. Mr Burch when addressing me said the courts will never be able to stop people carrying knives.

"Well, I approach it from a more positive aspect and make it clear so everyone knows the courts will impose terms of custody or detention for such offences if choices are made to carry weapons for whatever reason, that's what will follow, prison or detention in normal circumstances.

"The safety of the public is the key feature whether I can eradicate offending or not it doesn't stop me as a crown court judge trying to ensure the public are protected and justice is served."

It is perhaps not difficult to imagine what Cody Fisher's family would make of Gabis' punishment.