HMA v John Docherty and Don Joseph Templeton

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 8 May 2019, Lord Armstrong sentenced John Docherty to 12 years’ imprisonment and Don Templeton to eight years’ imprisonment after the two accused were found guilty of the attempted murder of James McGurk.

On sentencing, Lord Armstrong made the following statement in court:

“John Docherty and Don Joseph Templeton, you have been convicted, after trial, of the attempted murder of James McGurk, by together perpetrating on him an unprovoked and concerted attack in which you shot him, using a shotgun, to the danger of his life.

“This was a brutal and excessively violent attack, perpetrated with a firearm on an unarmed man. The clear evidence was that the injuries you inflicted were life-threatening, and that, accordingly, without medical intervention, your victim would have died.

“John Docherty, you are 47 years of age. I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning, by Mr Hughes, on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the criminal justice social work report now available. You continue to deny any responsibility for the matter of which you now stand convicted.

“You have a criminal history which includes a conviction for murder, in respect of which you were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995. You were therefore on licence when you committed this crime of attempted murder. I consider it also significant, for these purposes, that on the Crown case, at your trial, it was you who fired the shotgun and thus brought about the wounds inflicted.

“Having regard to all of these circumstances, but taking into account, in particular, the grave nature of your involvement, and the nature and extent of your criminal history, I sentence you to a period of imprisonment of 12 years.

“That sentence will run from today, and will be served concurrently with the period of imprisonment you are currently serving following the revocation of your licence.

“Don Joseph Templeton, I have listened carefully to what has been said this morning, by Mr McElroy, on your behalf, and I have read and taken account of the criminal justice social work report now available. You also continue to deny any responsibility for the matter of which you now stand convicted.

“You are 38 years of age. I accept that the case against you, at your trial, was that you were not the attacker who wielded and fired the shotgun which caused the life threatening injuries sustained by your victim. Nevertheless, you provided the transport necessary for the perpetration of this crime, and you have been found by the jury to be jointly criminally responsible for the crime of attempted murder along with your co-accused. 

“You have a criminal record, dating from 1997 until 2014, which discloses some 23 previous convictions, including two for assault. I recognise that the majority of these convictions are in relation to road traffic offences, and that you have never before served a period of imprisonment. I am satisfied, however, that in the circumstances of your case there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial disposal.

“Taking into account all of these particular circumstances, I sentence you to a period of imprisonment of eight years. That sentence will run from 8 April 2019, when you were first detained in relation to this matter.”