HMA v Brian Docherty

At the High Court in Livingston today, 12 November 2018, Lady Rae imposed an extended sentence on Brian Docherty of nine years and ten months after the accused pled guilty to lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour and sexual assault. The custodial part will seven years and ten months, which will be followed by an extension period of two years on licence.

On sentencing, Lady Rae made the following statement in court:

“What makes this indictment so serious is the fact that there were four children whom you abused over a very long period of time. I note that it is agreed in the narrative that you targeted these children, who for the most part were neighbours and friends of your own children.

“Another and major aggravating factor in this case is that your offending commenced in the early 1970’s and only ended this year. 

“All of the children were very young and all under the age of 12 but it is relevant to highlight that the youngest and latest victim was only three or four when you started abusing her. The others were aged five and six when the abuse commenced.

“I have read the criminal justice social work report and it is significant that you have been assessed, despite your age, to present a high risk of sexual re-offending and Mr Keenan takes no issue with that assessment.

“The only possible mitigating factor in this case is your acceptance of your guilt which has avoided the necessity of your victims reliving the traumas that they suffered at your hands in a court of law before a jury and for that I require, by law, to allow you a discount on the sentence I would otherwise have imposed. 

“You must realise however the fact that they did not give evidence does not in any way minimise the damage you did to them when they were very young. It can only be hoped that they can start to move forward with their lives now that you have finally been convicted.

“From the period of the libel now before me there was a gap in your offending between 1986 and 2010. I am also advised that in relation to charges 10 and 11 you intimated a plea at an early stage and before the indictment was served.

“I have decided therefore that the appropriate way to deal with this case is to impose a cumulo sentence in respect of charges 3, 4 and 5 and allow a 25 per cent discount and to impose a consecutive sentence on charges 10 and 11 allowing a one third discount.

“The sentences, of course, have to take account of the fact that I am imposing consecutive sentences and I have to take account of your age.

“In view of the high risk you present I shall also be imposing an extended sentence.

“On charges 3, 4, and 5 I would have imposed a sentence of six years’ imprisonment, but require to discount that by 25 per cent, to four years and six months, backdated to 15 October 2018 when first remanded.

“On charges 10 and 11, I would have imposed a consecutive five years’ imprisonment, but will reduce that by a third to three years and four months.

“That is a total of seven years and 10 months backdated to 15 October. I shall extend the sentence by a further two years’ post release supervision.”