John Gemmel (1829-1893) was a lawyer and stipendiary magistrate.
After training as a lawyer in his father's office, Gemmel became a member of the Faculty of Procurators in 1855. A few years later he was appointed Joint Procurator-Fiscal in Glasgow. He established a reputation as an able and determined prosecutor whose cases included such high profile trials as those of Jessie McLachlan and Dr Edward Pritchard, the last man to be publicly hanged in Glasgow.
In 1876, Gemmel was appointed to the post of Stipendiary Magistrate in Glasgow, the first such post to be created in Scotland, at a salary of £1000 a year. The cost to the city made the post somewhat controversial initially but the experience and sound judgement demonstrated by Gemmel at the Central Police Court soon made people appreciate the value of having a professional magistrate on the bench. He was also assessor to the Dean of Guild Court.
Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 920.04 BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
Central Police Court, courts, Dean of Guild Court, Faculty of Procurators, lawyers, magistrates, Procurator Fiscals